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Health and Safety
Merck-Medco Rx Edition
Written and Produced by
The Labor Institute
Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union
Health and Safety
for the Workers of
Allied-Industrial.1 1999 © Labor Institute .PACE-Labor Institute Health and Safety Awareness Training for the Workers of Merck-Medco Rx Written and produced by The Labor Institute for the Paper. Chemical and Energy Workers International Union Draft 5.
layout and illustration are the responsibility of The Labor Institute staff. PACE Doug Stephens. New York. Funds for this project are provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Mike Gill. a non-profit organization (853 Broadway. The Labor Institute Howard Saunders. for the Paper. Sinai School of Medicine. The primary structure. writing. editing. New York 10003. Chemical and Energy Workers International Union. OSHA Department Director. New Perspectives Consulting Group Cydney Wilkes and Alejandra Martorell. PACE Tony Mazzocchi. PACE Les Leopold. members of PACE 2-149. Please be advised that this edition is in a continuous editing process based on the field experiences of the PACE worker-trainers. Associate Director for Grant Administration. New York. iv . (212) 674-3322). The Labor Institute This book is written and produced by The Labor Institute. Council on International and Public Affairs. The Labor Institute Paul Renner. Glenn Erwin. NY Tobi Lippin. All requests to use or reproduce this material must be made to Doug Stephens at the PACE International Union (address above) and The Labor Institute (address above). Allied-Industrial. Mt. P. TN 37211.O. Teresa Mix Ron Westmoreland David Dembo. PACE Curriculum Consultants Curriculum Adaptation Training & Support Team: Research Director: Chief Medical Advisor: Evaluation Coordinator: Desktop Publishing: Steve Cable. Executive Vice President. New York. Box 1475 Nashville.Project Team Project Director : Associate Director: Training and Curriculum Director: Training and Curriculum Associate Director: Design and Illustration: Senior Consultants: David Ortlieb. NY Dr. Steven Markowitz. Room 2014. The Labor Institute Robert Wages. This workbook is designed for use by PACE worker-trainers who are conducting 8-hour and 24-hour hazardous materials courses.
IL Bernard Coble. TX Steve Cable. Pinole. New Brunswick. AK Alex Bowders. VA Brad Dodge. WA John Coon. OH Michael Gill. TX Jeff Conway. Chillicothe. ID A. KY David Fry. OH Robin Bryant. WA Ernie Blankenship. IL Joseph Davis. Springboro. Ellendale. Kennewick. NJ Robert Beck. OH Gaylon Hanson. Franklin. Rigby. Memphis. TN Bill Bocast. Jr. Ft. Kingston. Lupton. TN Local 8-397 Local 8-397 Local 1-369 Local 3-288 Local 1-369 Local 8-957 Local 1-369 Local 7-4200 Local 8-234 Local 4-227 Local 7-807 Local 3-631 Local 8-431 Local 4-367 Local 1-369 Local 1-369 Local 6-249 Local 3-495 Local 1-5 Local 3-689 Local 4-243 Local 3-550 Local 3-770 Local 8-431 Local 3-550 Local 2-652 Local 7-4200 Local 7-4200 Local 7-4200 Local 2-477 Local 4-16000 Local 8-438 Local 7-4200 Local 2-652 Local 3-288 Local 3-288 continued v . Warsaw. WA Frank Brewer. Portsmouth. OH Mark Grajeda. Pulaski. Beaumont. Canton. CO Fabian Greenwell. Riverhead. Symsonia. OH Michael Gibson. West Carrollton. Morgantown. Elder. East Orange. WV Paula Bradford. KY Delores Evans. Big Lake. Edison. OH Karyl Dunson. TX Shirley Guyader. Holbrook. Chester. Kennewick. Kennewick. TX Edward N.. Paige Gibson. Lenoir City. AK Bill Davis. NJ Karen Hale. NY Phillip Foley. PA Kathy Burris. ID Sheila Harris. TN Lou Evers. Dear Park. Baytown. Kenai. Jonesborough. TN Steve Coleman. TN Jim Hendricks.PACE Worker-Trainers Hasim Abdur-Rahim. NJ Josie Beach. CA Esther Downey. Pasadena. NY Robert Collins. Mayfield. Franklin. Idaho Falls.
WA Rita Isker. Salt Lake City. Harriman. Lake Charles. OH Gene Martin.PACE Worker-Trainers (continued) Dennis Hernandez. Richland. Dayton. Waverly. WA Pat Miller. OH Dan Picard. ID Jim Hopson. Arco. Richland. Louisville. River Falls. IL James Rodgers. Idaho Falls. Chubbick. WA Ron Westmoreland. Chicago. KY Kelly Schmidt. OH Tommie Rochelle. Anchorage. Richland. Bayonne. MS Grant McCalmant. TN Virginia Robinson. Concord. CA Jerome Summers. WA Tom Seymour. Loudon. KS Bill Hoyle. Kennewick. West Paducah. MN Ernest Jahn. WA Brian Morris. WI Teresa Mix. ID Thomas Moser. AK Daniel Koste. Stillwater. UT Fraser Hubbard. KY Alphonse Rainer. Oakwood Village. Lenoir City. NJ Glenn Powell. Kennewick. TN Local 2-632 Local 5-613 Local 2-286 Local 1-369 Local 6-409 Local 1-369 Local 2-652 Local 3-689 Local 4-447 Local 1-369 Local 6-717 Local 1-369 Local 2-652 Local 3-288 Local 7-4200 Local 7-4200 Local 8-406 Local 3-367 Local 3-550 Local 3-288 Local 7-622 Local 7-268 Local 3-550 Local 1-369 Local 1-5 Local 4-555 Local 1-369 Local 3-288 vi . ID Mark Lewis. KY Connie Reedy. Carriere. LA Tim Van Reenen. Miamisburg. LaCenter. Eudora. TN Gary Nolley. OH Eric Parker.
Table of Contents Joint Mission Statement Introduction Activity 1: Activity 2: Activity 3: Activity 4: Activity 5: Activity 6: Activity 7: Activity 8: Appendix: Systems of Safety Getting to Recommendations Tackling Toxic Chemical Myths Indoor Air Quality Problems in Our Facilities Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) Strengthening the Health and Safety Committee The Hazards of Noise Exposure Evaluating the Workshop References and Resources COSH Groups COSH-Related Groups Glossary of Terms 2 3 7 29 43 65 91 109 127 155 A-1 o 1 .
The training program presented in conjunction with this manual represents a significant step in meeting this joint commitment to workplace health and safety. Employees can contribute substantially to achieving the goals of safety and health.Introduction Joint Mission Statement PACE Health and Safety Awareness Training The Merck-Medco Rx Services companies. we believe that the education and training of each employee is a primary factor in achieving a safe and secure workplace. We jointly hope that you benefit from the training program. are mutually committed to assuring a safe and healthful workplace for our employees and members. and its local unions. the Paper. AFL-CIO. The training emphasizes the importance of identifying the root cause(s) of accidents with a systems-based approach. We recognize that is only where a safe and secure work environment exists that employees can achieve their full career potential. each trained employee will be better able to provide input to his/her union and the management team as well at the Joint Health and Safety Committee. By working with and through these committees. Allied-Industrial. Therefore. we can achieve results that would have been impossible if either management or the employees had worked alone. With such knowledge and information also comes the ability to interact with management and the Joint Health and Safety Committee that exists at each facility. but only if they have an awareness of recognized safety standards. and find it valuable in your every day work environment. and the ability to identify unsafe and unhealthy situations. Your Joint Health and Safety Committee constitutes the most accessible and responsive vehicle for individual employees to communicate issues concerning workplace safety and health. Chemical and Energy Workers International Union. With this knowledge. Such education and training should also enable employees to identify mechanisms to eliminate identified hazards. 2 .
Congress set aside $20 million to support safety and health training programs which are specially designed for hazardous materials workers and chemical emergency responders. in cooperation with The Labor Institute of New York. The PACE Worker-Trainers PACE has a long history with health and safety efforts and training. located in New York City. The grant was awarded to provide training to workers who handle hazardous materials and respond to chemical emergencies. It is our belief that our membership is really the best resource for making our facilities safe and for protecting the community from harm. through which workers truly participate in their own education. Under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). and Atomic Workers Union. Chemical. The staff of the Labor Institute are dues-paying members of PACE Local 2-149. recently received a training grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). We are putting that belief into practice. * The Labor Institute is a non-profit educational group. that provides innovative worker-oriented educational programs to unions and community groups around the country. 3 .Introduction Introduction Why Is This Training Taking Place? The Oil. called the Small Group Activity Method. the training will be done using a non-lecture approach. In addition. That is why the PACE-Labor Institute* program is committed to conducting the training by PACE rank and file worker-trainers.
Instead of learning by listening. promote passivity on the part of workers. (The TUC is the organizational equivalent of the AFL-CIO.Introduction The Small Group Activity Method (SGAM) The training activities in this workbook use the Small Group Activity Method. solving real-life problems. building upon our own skills and experiences. further developed the procedure into the Small Group Activity Method. the Labor Institute has shared this method with over 200 different unions and community groups in the United States and Canada.” The Small Group Activity Method puts the learner in the center of the workshop. de-value our knowledge and skills.* *Currently there are over 150 worker-trainers using this method in the Oil. we learn by doing. too many lectures “go in one ear and out the other. Why a Non-Lecture Approach? Worker-oriented educators have learned the hard way that working adults learn best in situations that maximize active participation and involvement. Since 1980. which had pioneered a similar method around economic issues for workers. lecture-style teaching methods used in most programs actually undermine the learning process. 4 . As we all know. non-lecture method to train over 250. The trainer-centered.000 shop stewards on health and safety issues in the 1970s and early 1980s.) The TUC used this participatory. as we are expected to do in a lecture-style course. and make us feel inadequate. Origins The Small Group Activity Method is based on a training procedure developed by England’s Trade Union Congress (TUC). The Labor Institute in New York. Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union and the Service Employees International Union. the Labor Institute has succeeded in training workers to be trainers. Participants are put to work in the workshop. Through the use of this non-lecture approach.
) During the report-back.Introduction Basic Structure The Small Group Activity Method is based on activities. the trainer highlights the key points. the workshop is thrown open to general discussion about the problem at hand. (The report-back person was first called the “scribe” by an OCAW worker-trainer during a 1982 session with Merck stewards in New Jersey. Report-Back: For each task. The trainer records these reports on large pads of paper in front of the workshop so that all can refer to it. After the scribe’s report. Small Group Tasks: The workshop always operates with people working in groups at tables. An activity can take from 30 minutes to an hour. Each activity has a common basic structure: • Small Group Tasks • Report-Back • Summary 1. Very often there is not one right answer. Here.) Each activity has a task. or set of tasks. the group selects a scribe whose job it is to take notes on the small group discussion and report back to the workshop as a whole. 5 . The tasks require that the groups use their experience to tackle problems. Summary: Before the discussion drifts away from specific issues. Part of the task often includes looking at factsheets and reading short handouts. the trainer needs to bring it all together during the summary. not to compete. 2. and to make judgements on key issues. The idea is to work together in the group. the scribe informs the entire workshop on how his or her group tackled the particular problem. 3. Good summaries tend to be short and to the point. for the groups to work on. and brings up any problems and points that may have been overlooked in the report-back. (Round tables are preferred.
We should never underestimate how much real education takes place from worker to worker. It is based on three learning exchanges: • Worker to Worker • Worker to Trainer • Trainer to Worker Worker to Worker: Most of us learn best from each other. we learn not only from trainer to worker. This is our chance to clear up confusion and make key points. 6 . Worker to Trainer: Lecture-style training assumes that the trainer knows all the answers. SGAM allows us to listen to those we are training.Introduction Three Basic Learning Exchanges The Small Group Activity Method (SGAM) is based on the idea that every workshop is a place in which learning is shared. or more. SGAM is a structured procedure that allows us to share information. it builds confidence among those we are training. so we learn much more about the realities people face. Nor is SGAM simply an opportunity to sit around and talk over coffee. By waiting until the summary section. we better understand what participants need to know. Rather. With SGAM we learn as much as possible from each other. SGAM is based on the understanding that trainers also have a lot to learn. SGAM makes worker-to-worker learning exchange a key element of all of our workshops. because our training method shows genuine respect for worker knowledge. Confidence is the key to adult learning. Workers often will have as much. the workshop participants. Trainer to Worker: The traditional learning procedure of school also has its place in SGAM but not until the end. Also. With SGAM. collective knowledge as expert or teacher of a particular given subject. We do this by first allowing people to learn from each other by solving problems in their small groups. mainly during the report-backs.
Activity 1: Systems of Safety Purpose To introduce the concept of systems of safety and accident prevention. 7 .
Crew fatigue was typical on the tankers. Its staff had been cut by one-third. Tanker crews relied on the Coast Guard to plot their location continually. the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil. sued and fired. 1989. d. Over 1.Activity 1: Systems of Safety Task 1 Shortly after midnight on March 24. crew size had been cut in half. Further investigation of the accident revealed the following facts: a. The crew was rushing to get the tanker loaded for departure the next evening. The radar station in the city of Valdez.500 miles of shoreline were polluted by the spill.m. Responsibility for the incident was initially placed on the tanker captain who had been drinking earlier that evening. which was responsible for monitoring the locations of tanker traffic in the risky waters of Prince William Sound. f. Crews routinely worked 12. In 1977. c. but it was never installed. the practice of tracking ships all the way out to Bligh 8 . The Exxon Valdez had arrived in port at 11 p.to 14 hour shifts plus extensive amounts of overtime. The Exxon Valdez was traveling outside of the normal sea lane in order to avoid icebergs that were thought to be in the area. Congressional approval of the Alaskan oil pipeline and tanker transport network included an agreement by the oil corporations to build and use double hulled tankers. By 1989. the average oil tanker operating out of Valdez had a crew of 40 people. b. e. Captain Hazelwood was disciplined. The Exxon Valdez did not have a double hull. Although the Coast Guard at Valdez was assigned to conduct safety inspections of the tankers. The location of tankers could not be monitored in the area of Bligh Reef. they did not perform these inspections. the night before. State-of-the-art equipment for monitoring icebergs in shipping lanes was promised by the oil industry. Although the Coast Guard operating manual required this. had replaced its radar with much less powerful equipment. This would significantly reduce the amount of oil released in an accident.
d. 9 . In the Wake of the Exxon Valdez. You can list more than one system or flaw for each paragraph. g. f.Activity 1: Systems of Safety Reef had been discontinued. e. Please be sure to pick a scribe at each table to record your response. Failed Technology. This seriously impaired attempts to contain and recover the spilled oil. Systems b. Review the factsheets on pages 11 through 27 and in your groups list the systems of safety involved in each paragraph and the flaws in each system. c. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. 1990. 1. Tanker crews were never informed of the change. and Art Davidson. Spill response teams and equipment were not readily available. g. International Thomson Publishing. Flaws a. Sources: Fran Locher Freiman and Neil Schlager.
10 . 2. 2. In your groups.Activity 1: Systems of Safety Task 2 1. Systems of Safety Involved 1. 3. list three of the most important safety problems in your plants and then list which systems of safety need to be addressed in order to solve each problem. 3. Problem 1.
Activity 1: Systems of Safety 1. What Are Systems of Safety? We know that there are many systems involved in our lives.. 11 . Major systems of safety include: • Design & Engineering • Mechanical Integrity • Mitigation devices (i. You may have additional systems of safety at your site. For example. System Safety Engineering and Management. alarms) • Training & Procedures • Human factors There are many sub-systems which make up these major systems of safety. We generally do not spend much time thinking about the systems of safety that exist in our facilities. This begins in the conceptual (planning) phase of a project and continues throughout the life of the process. Source: Adapted in part from Harold Roland and Brian Moriarty. operator refresher training is a sub-system of a facility’s training & procedures system. relief valves) • Warning devices (i. They may be organized differently and have different names.e.. But when we think about safety at our worksites we usually focus on the injuries suffered by individual workers. A safety system can be defined as the use of special management programs which actively seek to identify and control hazards (a proactive system). 1983. But all of our facilities have systems of safety in place. 202. New York: John Wiley and Sons.e. There is a political system. an economic system and a production system. p.
12 . warning devices and mitigation systems • • • • Process safety information Process hazard analysis Management of change Pre-startup safety review Aspects of various systems of safety and sub-systems often overlap. An effective investigation program focuses on examining all of the systems of safety involved in an incident in order to maximize prevention. OSHA requires an incident investigation program. OSHA also requires that compliance audits be implemented to evaluate each of the systems of safety included in the PSM Standard. For example. the PSM Standard requires that. it provides an example of how systems of safety are used in other hazardous industries. The chart below shows how some of OSHA’s PSM requirements fit into a safety system framework. at a minimum. OSHA and Systems of Safety Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) has yet to be applied to MMRx facilities. companies formally establish certain systems of safety and sub-systems. Mechanical integrity system • Maintenance and inspection system • Sub-Contractors Training and procedures system • • • • Operating procedures Training Hot work Emergency planning and response Design.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 2. an effective mechanical integrity safety system includes a major emphasis on training for mechanical employees and sub-contractors. In addition. For instance.
Important elements of the maintenance and inspection system include: • safety and skills training for employees and sub-contractors involved in installing. tools and spare parts including use of a quality control program. The Mechanical Integrity System Properly designed equipment can turn into unsafe junk if it is not appropriately maintained. maintaining. • turnarounds* scheduled at a safe frequency and prior to the breakdown of equipment. inspected and repaired. equipment. • written procedures for each task performed. • worker and union involvement in developing and overseeing this system. • use of proper materials. 13 . *Turnarounds are scheduled shutdowns of process equipment for the specific purpose of performing preventative maintenance.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 3. repairing or inspecting equipment. • turnarounds which are lengthy enough to make all needed inspections and repairs. The OSHA PSM Standard uses the term mechanical integrity to describe this safety system. • spare parts that are kept readily available. An effective mechanical integrity system should be evaluated by its performance in eliminating the use of breakdown maintenance. • adequate staffing to eliminate work order and preventative maintenance backlogs.
• methods developed by management and the union to certify that training is understood. The greater the hazard of the process. the greater is the need for procedures and training. 14 . • training and procedures which identify all potential chemical hazards. The Training and Procedures System The operation and maintenance of processes that are inherently dangerous require a system of written procedures and training. • training which is conducted as often as needed and whenever the process or equipment changes. the possible consequences of these hazardous conditions and the actions needed to respond to each hazard or potential hazard.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 4. Parts of an effective training and procedures system include: • training and procedures which consistently incorporate the philosophy that safety is more important than production. promotes safety. • emergency response plan and training that are in place and are routinely practiced. • worker and union involvement in developing and overseeing training and procedures activities. and is not punitive.
15 .Activity 1: Systems of Safety 5. • annunciator panels. The Warning System The warning safety system includes the use of devices that warn employees that a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation is occurring. Workers must be able to understand the meaning of the warning. These warning components require worker intervention to control or to mitigate the hazardous situation. Examples of warning devices include: • facility and unit fire. spill and evacuation alarms. have the ability to respond in a timely manner and understand what actions are necessary. • community and neighboring plant alarm systems.
One example of primary prevention is the substitution of a less hazardous chemical. • safe-siting and spacing of equipment. A central purpose of the design safety system is to eliminate hazards through the selection of inherently safe or low-risk processes whenever possible. Important elements of the design safety system are: • reducing the inventory of hazardous materials. Environmental Protection Agency. • use of fail-safe engineering concepts. 16 . while a spill of liquid sodium hypochlorite is inherently less dangerous. • enclosing processes. Source: Nicholas Ashford. The design safety system is the place where primary prevention takes place. for chlorine in treating cooling water. A release of toxic chlorine gas can travel in the wind for miles.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 6. • ergonomic design of equipment and control panels. 1993. sodium hypochlorite (bleach). The Encouragement of Technological Change for Preventing Chemical Accidents. The Design System Many important safety decisions are made long before new or revised systems and procedures are introduced into a facility. Primary prevention eliminates the possibility that a disaster will occur.
The Mitigation System The mitigation safety system involves the use of equipment that automatically acts to control or reduce the adverse consequences of hazardous incidents. The mitigation system provides opportunities for secondary prevention.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 7. 17 . Mitigation equipment does not eliminate hazards. Mitigation devices do not require any action on the part of employees in order for the equipment to function. it only controls the severity of incidents. Typical examples of mitigation devices are: • automatic fire systems (water and halon) • mechanical ventilation • automatic trip devices.
temperature and illumination been considered? • Have employees made modifications to existing systems that would indicate failure to apply human factors principles in the original design? • Have employees received training in human factors? 18 .Activity 1: Systems of Safety 8. In the United States the term “ergonomics” is typically used to refer to the physical aspects of work while “human factors” encompasses both physical and mental issues. Understanding Human Factors Human factors involve considering the worker element in the design of equipment and technical systems so that they will be safe for workers. The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) has created a list of questions for auditing human factors programs. Sample questions include: • Do control and display layouts minimize the chance for operator error? • Are there design standards that specify proper layout? • Is there adequate space to access system elements for normal operations and maintenance? • Have the psychological and physical demands of the job been considered for both routine and emergency operations? • Have shift work and overtime schedules been designed to minimize operator fatigue and stress? • Have environmental conditions such as noise.
Guidelines for Technical Management of Chemical Process Safety. each facility needs a written human factors program. Many facilities have large staffs of engineers who perform extensive calculations on piping and other hardware so that the process will run safely. workload and staffing levels. These include equipment lay-out. the human factors system has several sub-systems. 19 . pp. Companies apply tight restrictions on the maximum safe process limits for the protection of piping and other hardware. human factors must also constitute a major factor. Scheduling overtime and similar worker-related issues must receive even more consideration. Source: Center for Chemical Process Safety.Activity 1: Systems of Safety Like every other major safety system. 1989. and overtime. 99-103. New York: American Institute of Chemical Engineers. While the hardware receives lots of attention. In order to effectively address these important safety issues. shift schedule.
Standards Guidelines Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) and Management of Change (MOC) Secondary Inspection Vibration Monitoring Secondary Relief Valves Diking & Drainage Warning Devices Secondary Monitors Process Alarms Training & Human Procedures Factors Secondary Operating Manuals Process Safety Information Operating Procedures Permit Programs Emergency Response Planning & Training Pre-Startup Review Refresher Training Secondary Ergonomics Worker/ Equipment Interface Overtime Behavior Staffing Buddy System Workload Noise Temperature Ventilation Safety SubSystems Preventive Facility Maintenance Shutdowns Alarms & Isolation Parts Devices Quality Control Check Valves Safe Siting Turn-around Frequency Fire Chemical Suppression Substitution Devices Communica tion Devices Personal As Low as Protective Reasonably Equipment Achievable (ALARA) Stress Information Resources Illumination Shift Communica Schedule tions 20 .Activity 1: Systems of Safety 9. Systems of Safety and Sub-Systems (Examples) Safety Systems Type of Prevention Design & Mechanical Mitigation Engineering Integrity Devices Primary Codes.
Activity 1: Systems of Safety 10. Good design techniques are the most effective way to eliminate the potential for accidents. Type of Prevention Primary Secondary Systems of Safety Design & Engineering Mechanical Integrity Mitigation devices Warning devices Training & Procedures Human Factors 21 . This is the only system in which primary prevention takes place. All of the other systems of safety provide secondary prevention by reducing the probability or severity of an accident. The most important safety system is the design system. inspection and training programs are important. Getting to Prevention Some systems are far more effective than others in their ability to maximize opportunities for prevention of disasters and injuries. but they will not make unsafely designed equipment safe. Good maintenance.
Source: Center for Chemical Process Safety. Changing the unsafe behaviors of an injured worker does not take us very far down the road to prevention.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 11. Symptoms When we focus attention on worker injuries we are only seeing the tip of the safety iceberg. Prevention of accidents requires making changes in systems of safety. Unsafe acts. 1992. Systems vs. New York: American Institute of Chemical Engineers. 22 . The root causes of incidents are found in system failures such as faulty design or inadequate training which are responsible for unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. Process safety management involves the use of systems to control hazards and reduce the number and seriousness of process related incidents and accidents. Guidelines for Investigating Chemical Process Incidents. unsafe conditions and accidents are symptoms of something wrong with existing systems of safety.
there are often few if any industry. How often have you heard the buzz words. Proactive vs. In contrast. in a proactive safety system. If a disaster involving a particular process or chemical has not occurred yet.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 12. 8-9. It is recognized that if you are performing breakdown maintenance. effective systems of safety are based on the proactive identification and control of hazards before disasters and accidents take place. don’t fix it”? Some corporate safety programs have been based on this reactive model. System Safety Engineering and Management. the thing that is really broken is the facility’s preventative maintenance program. pp. Proactive systems of safety are the best way to prevent disasters and injuries. Reactive Systems Some corporations are re-engineering themselves and cutting costs. 1983. The reactive safety model is the least effective method for preventing chemical releases and accidents. running pumps until they fail is totally unacceptable. trade association or government safety guidelines. For example. Source: Harold Roland and Brian Moriarty. This after-the-fact approach to safety creates a piecemeal safety program. Extensive standards are created after a disaster to address prevention of that particular type of event. “if it ain’t broke. 23 . New York: John Wiley and Sons.
such as those in place at Merck-Medco Rx Services sites.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 13. can be a positive force involved in creating or changing systems of safety. EPA. workers and their union representatives can be proactive in regard to systems of safety. . Worker Involvement Creates Strong Systems of Safety Joint Health and Safety Committees. 1993. severity. Workers have a unique understanding of the hazards of the processes that they operate and maintain. and nature of chemical incidents. OSHA recognizes in their PSM Standard that active worker and union involvement in the development and use of process systems of safety is essential for the prevention of disasters. workers are often more aware of the ineffectiveness of personal protective equipment and other mitigation devices. Similarly. In addition to concentrating their activity on handling worker complaints and on promoting injury rate reduction goals. primary prevention would be significantly encouraged. operators have traditionally been more aware than management of the frequency. 24 . The Encouragement of Technological Change for Preventing Chemical Accidents. MIT. A report published by the Environmental Protection Agency made the same point: “.” Source: Nicholas Ashford. Were the company’s technological decision-making to be informed by such worker insights. .
Activity 1: Systems of Safety 14.” The Environmental Protection Agency also emphasizes “root causes”: “. facilities may miss the opportunity to identify and solve the root problems. Risk Management Programs for Chemical Accidental Release Prevention. Sources: American Institute of Chemical Engineers. misuse of equipment (operating at too high a temperature). an operator’s mistake may be the result of poor training. such as faulty design or inadequate training. Without a thorough investigation. the Center for Chemical Process Safety defines “root causes” as: “Management systems failures. Finding the Root Cause Safety professionals and government safety experts recognize the importance of identifying root causes and the prevention of accidents. Guidelines for Auditing Process Safety Management Systems. or poor design of control systems. or use of incompatible materials. If the root causes were removed. . inappropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs). equipment failure may result from improper maintenance. underlying cause.” What we see is above ground. but what really matters is sometimes hidden from initial view. Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Rule. For example. the particular incident would not have occurred. 25 . . that led to an unsafe act or condition that resulted in an accident.
Decisions made without due consideration for future effects can be the root cause of current and future “accidents. It takes time for problems to take root. Bad Decisions Today Can Cause Accidents Tomorrow Root causes do not necessarily have immediate effects. they take time to mature. 26 .Activity 1: Systems of Safety 15.” Such decisions may include: • cutbacks in preventative maintenance • less frequent equipment inspections • inadequate training for employees and supervisors • the failure to report and investigate previous near-misses • longer and longer intervals between preventative maintenance shutdowns • the use of skeleton crews for maintenance and operations • increased use of untrained subcontractors Accidents don’t just happen.
Effective prevention of similar incidents requires changing safety systems. New York: American Institute of Chemical Engineers. What Are Root Causes? The root causes of incidents are the prime factors that underlie the causal factors of an accident. Examples of Root Causes • Poor design of process units and equipment • Poor layout of control room indicators and controls • Difficult access to equipment • Unsafe siting and spacing of process units and equipment • Lack of preventive maintenance or inspection • Inadequate procedures or training for both normal and emergency situations • Excessive overtime • Inadequate staffing levels • Human factors Sources: Mine Safety and Health Administration. poor lockout procedures or inadequate training. 1992. accident or near-miss. pp. Guidelines for Investigating Chemical Process Incidents. 27 . There are almost always several root causes involved in an incident. Accident Prevention. For example. Root causes are sometimes referred to as “basic” causes. and Center for Chemical Process Safety. Root causes are always found in safety systems. 129-131. the root causes of an electrocution might include improperly designed or maintained equipment. 35-38. pp. 1990.Activity 1: Systems of Safety 16.
28 . 4. 2.Activity 1: Systems of Safety Summary: Systems of Safety 1. Proactive systems of safety are the key to preventing disasters and injuries. Active worker and union involvement in systems of safety is essential for these systems to be effective. Understanding the hierarchy of systems of safety (design as the primary system) enables workers to become active participants in developing and implementing safe work practices (“training and procedures”). 5. The design system provides the opportunity for primary prevention by eliminating the possibility of a serious accident occurring. The other systems of safety are aimed at secondary prevention by reducing the probability or severity of an accident. 6. The most effective controls of health and safety hazards are those which are integrated or designed into the process such as engineering controls. 7. Your pharmacy may have different structures and names for its systems of safety. but all of our pharmacies have systems of safety. Major systems of safety include: • design & engineering • mechanical integrity • mitigation devices • warning devices • training and procedures • human factors 3.
The Design System 7. Finding the Root Cause 15. Proactive vs. The Training and Procedures System 5. Systems vs. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. The Mechanical Integrity System 4. The Warning System 6. Symptoms 12.Evaluation Activity 1: Systems of Safety 1. What Are Root Causes? continued . Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. OSHA and Systems of Safety 3. Reactive Systems 13. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. The Mitigation System 8. Getting to Prevention 11. Systems of Safety and Sub-Systems (Examples) 10. Understanding Human Factors 9. What Are Systems of Safety? 2. 1. Bad Decisions Today Can Cause Accidents Tomorrow 16. Worker Involvement Creates Strong Systems of Safety 14.
What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? .3. 5. 7. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. Most Important Summary Point 1. 6. 2. 4. 3. 4.
Activity 2: Getting to Recommendations Purpose To gain experience in making recommendations for correcting flawed systems of safety. 29 .
the Conveyor workers will inevitably place themselves in an awkward position resulting in strains to Work Station the back and neck. Employees reach over the workstation to retrieve pans of prescriptions which may consist of bottles of various sizes including small tablet bottles and larger bottles up to 16 oz. The Committee has interviewed workers and conducted a walk-through inspection. which delivers the prescriptions for packaging. The SOBA workstation is directly in front of the conveyor belt. In the process of juggling the Commodity Pan pan to keep the bottles from falling to the floor. in your groups. As employees reach across their workstation and above their shoulders to retrieve pans. The prescriptions sit in a lightweight plastic tote (pan) with a 1 1/2 -inch lip.Activity 2: Recommendations Task Please read the following scenario and look at the completed logic tree on the next page. the weight of the bottles sometimes cause the tote to flex and the bottles to topple. answer the questions which follow. An employee working in SOBA is required to retrieve pans filled with prescriptions ready for packaging. Scenario: Review of reported employee injuries reflects an unusual number of back and neck strain injuries in the SOBA packing area. Please refer to the factsheets on pages 34 through 41 and. The tote is not sturdy enough to hold the heavier bottles at one end and the lighter bottles at the other. The following facts are reported. The Joint Health and Safety Committee has been asked to investigate and make recommendations regarding the cause of this pattern of injuries. 30 .
liquid-filled bottles oz illed bottl topple when SOBA pans are picked up SOS Design Enginnering Normal SOS Human Factors ors/ Ergonomiics nom Pans are too flexible for flexib for commodity SOS Design & Engineering En 31 .Activity 2: Recommendations Back & neck strains in nec strai in SOBA packing area W orkers' bodies in awkardrd wa position W orkers must reach above shoulders for SOBA pans W orkers reach over work over station to acess pans frfrom access pans om conveyor W orkers often must juggle pans to keep bottles from tles falling Conveyor height is above shoulder level ould le W orkers pick up SOBA ers pi up pans foom conveyor fr rm convey W ork station iis bettween station s be ween worker and conveyor orker 12 oz.
What recommendations would your group make to address the flawed systems of safety identified by the logic tree and by your own analysis? Please refer to factsheets pages 34 through 41. what systems would you substitute or add? Why? 2. Do you agree with the Systems of Safety the investigation arrived at? If not. Systems of Safety 1. 2.Activity 2: Recommendations Task (continued) 1. Read factsheet 1 and discuss the logic tree included with the scenario. Recommendations 32 . 3. 4.
) 33 . Design a system for keeping track of your recommendations. (How would you follow their progress? Would you be responsible? How long would you allow for each recommendation to be completed? How should a negative response to one of your recommendations be handled? etc.Activity 2: Recommendations 3.
” The process now repeats itself by asking.Activity 2: Recommendations 1. etc. “What facts caused or allowed the workers’ bodies to be in awkward positions?” This time. “What facts caused or allowed the event to take place?” For example.e.. The process continues until we reach one of four stopping points: • A flawed System of Safety (SOS) – our prime objective. “What facts caused the back and neck strains?” We then insert facts that answer the question in a set in the line below.). • A fact that in Non-Correctable (i. Looking at the logic tree. We ask the question. it was raining. the unit was running.e. Each is listed separately on the next level and each becomes a new Top Event for further investigation. Reading a Logic Tree To read or follow through a logic tree..). etc. oil was hot. The Logic Tree: a Tool to Identify Flawed Systems of Safety A logic tree is a graphical way to analyze an incident in order to uncover its true root causes. in the scenario we would ask. the investigation indicated three facts to be responsible. we find that our investigation revealed that the injuries were caused by the “workers’ bodies being in awkward positions. the operator was on the job. it was cold outside. • A case where we need more information to continue (NMI). the 34 . the facts leading up to the incident are broken down until a flaw in a system of safety is uncover. Beginning with the event to be investigated (the Top Event). begin with the Top Event. • A fact that is considered Normal (i.
A major problem in writing investigation recommendations is the use of weak words such as “consider. • Not all of the recommendations will come directly from your logic tree. Some recommendations will flow from the general findings of the investigation. 6. • Do not recommend discipline. Guidelines for Investigating Chemical Process Incidents. 35 . Source: Center for Chemical Process Safety. chap. • Include a timeline for completion of each recommendation. The DON’Ts • Do not make vague statements. • Make recommendations that are measurable and trackable. not just on paper. • State the specific actions to be taken. The DOs • Address every root cause. engineering and chemicals provide the highest degree of prevention. remembering that changes in design. A hard-hitting investigation can easily be wasted if you lob softballs in writing the recommendations. The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Recommendations Prevention of incidents and accidents requires that actual changes be made in the plant.Activity 2: Recommendations 2. • Recommend changes in management safety systems.” These words make it easy to resolve recommendations for OSHA compliance on paper without changing anything in the plant. 1992. • Ensure that each recommendation is assigned to an individual to oversee implementation.
In general.Activity 2: Recommendations 3. Source: Job Hazard Analysis. OSHA Publication 3071. Design Offers the Most Protection Recommendations should be prioritized based on the reliability of the solution they provide. recommendations that can be applied to the job or process are better than those that are applied to individuals. for example. Even then. installing ventilation. Hazards might be lessened by installing warning/mitigation systems. experience and training. or adding machine guards. and/or improving employee training. ISBN 0-16-038038-3. improving procedures. the protection they provide to the individual is dependent upon several factors such as proper fit. Requiring personal respirators (correction applied to the individual) affords protection for only those who wear them. even visitors or unauthorized people who wander through. Take. The most desirable recommendations are those that will completely eliminate the source or cause of the hazard. an incident involving exposure to dust on a job process. 36 . changing tools. followed by those that will lessen its severity or likelihood. 1992 (Revised). Hazards might be eliminated by redesigning equipment. using personal protective equipment. A filtration or ventilation system (correction applied to the process) eliminates the hazard for everyone in the area.
Reynolds. JH&SC Recommendation Log Project # Recommendation Assigned To: Date Assigned 6/10/98 6/10/98 Projected Completion 9/10/98 6/17/98 Baker 1-3 Baker 1-7 Install ceiling dust collectors Revise procedures to reflect newly installed equipment Install guarding at east end of belt Repaint traffic markings on loading dock Train forklift operators on DOT shipping regulations J. the person assigned to the project is required to give a progress report to the committee monthly (or at shorter intervals if deemed necessary). Tracking Recommendations Once recommendations are made. 37 . Maint. Palmer. Planner S. This is most easily handled by placing one group such as the Joint Health & Safety Committee in charge of tracking progress. Production supervisor B. Miller. General Services D.Activity 2: Recommendations 4. it is important that their progress is tracked. An example log is shown below. Smith. Training Super. If the recommendation is turned down or an alternative is sought. A Recommendation Log can be a useful tool. Engineering T. support and documentation for that decision must be presented to the committee. Conveyor 08-1 Warehouse 1-1 Warehouse 1-2 6/12/98 6/16/98 8/12/98 6/30/98 6/16/98 6/30/98 Typically. especially if there are several recommendations to track. Hendricks.
Source: Marjorie Werrel and Zachary H. Industrial Ergonomics deals with interactions between people. Koutsandreas. 38 .Activity 2: Recommendations 5. September 1997. More specifically.” We are told to lift heavy loads. but what does it really mean? Basically. By using ergonomic principles to properly design the work environment.” Occupational Hazards. The Study of Work The term ergonomics has been thrown around our industry a lot lately. “Ergonomics: A Good Place to Start. workers are required to “fit the job. Think about that for a minute. use awkward postures. inflamed tendons and damaged nerves. ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker. How many ways do you interact with machines and equipment on your job? Dozens? Hundreds? Too often. and the work environment. machines. do repetitive tasks and other factors that can lead to sprained muscles. Ergonomics is the study of work-designing the job to fit people. we can do our jobs without disabling aches and pains.
1995. Select controls for trial implementation: Evaluate the ideas on your list to find those most effective and appropriate for your facility. The list should be based on the results of your risk factor checklist.Activity 2: Recommendations 6. How to Select Ergonomic Controls 1. no idea is wrong. one for immediate but perhaps temporary action. Identify the desired outcome: What risk factors are you trying to reduce/eliminate? 2. At this point. 39 . You may even want to develop two lists. Brainstorm and list all possible interventions. Some factors to take into account: • which risk factors will this control reduce or eliminate? • will this control eliminate/reduce ergonomic risk factors for all effected employees? • how long will it take to implement controls? • is the control feasible from an engineering standpoint? • how much will the control cost? • how much is saved by eliminating these ergonomic-related injuries? • how much training will be required after implementation? • will the bargaining agreement be affected? • what level of worker acceptance do you expect? Source: Ergonomics Awareness Training: Job Design with the Worker in Mind. 3. another for a long-term approach to solving the problem. The Oil. Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union. List all possible controls: There are usually several solutions to the same problem.
a worker routinely carries a heavy bucket in her job as a sampler. but she hardly notices. occurring over a long period of time. Most Common Body Parts Affected: • • • • • • Back Wrists Shoulders Elbows Neck Hands Most Likely Caused By: • Fast work pace • Repetition (performing the same task or movement over and over) • Awkward or fixed posture (working in an awkward position such as reaching overhead or holding the same position for a long time) • Forceful movements (pushing. she reaches for an object on the top shelf in her closet and has excruciating pain in her shoulder and immediate loss of motion. except for some soreness.Activity 2: Recommendations 7. Finally at home one evening. It All Adds Up Most work injuries are classified as acute injuries – meaning they result from an incident which can be easily identified (i. pulling or heavy lifting) • Vibration (often caused by tools) • Working in cold temperatures • Inadequate rest breaks RSI Symptoms: • • • • • • • • • Soreness Weakness Stiffness Tenderness Swelling A burning sensation Tingling Numbness Decreased coordination 40 . For example. Gradual damage to the tissues in her shoulder occur.. This sometimes makes it difficult to uncover their real cause.e. But repetitive strain injuries are cumulative. a worker carries a heavy bucket which slips out of his hand and injures his toe).
Systems of Safety and Sub-Systems (Examples) Safety Systems Type of Prevention Design & Mechanical Mitigation Engineering Integrity Devices Primary Codes. Standards Guidelines Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) and Management of Change (MOC) Secondary Inspection Vibration Monitoring Secondary Relief Valves Diking & Drainage Warning Devices Secondary Monitors Process Alarms Training & Human Procedures Factors Secondary Operating Manuals Process Safety Information Operating Procedures Permit Programs Emergency Response Planning & Training Pre-Startup Review Refresher Training Secondary Ergonomics Worker/ Equipment Interface Overtime Behavior Staffing Buddy System Workload Noise Temperature Ventilation Safety SubSystems Preventive Facility Maintenance Shutdowns Alarms & Isolation Parts Devices Quality Control Check Valves Safe Siting Turn-around Frequency Fire Chemical Suppression Substitution Devices Communica tion Devices Personal As Low as Protective Reasonably Equipment Achievable (ALARA) Stress Information Resources Illumination Shift Communica Schedule tions 41 .Activity 2: Recommendations 8.
2. Recommendations that completely eliminate a hazard are the most powerful. Recommendations should address every root cause of an incident. Make recommendations that are measurable and trackable. 3. 42 .Activity 2: Recommendations Summary: Recommendations 1. Assign responsibility for recommendations to individuals and require periodic updates to be reported to the Joint Health & Safety Committee. 4.
2. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. 4.Evaluation Activity 2: Getting to Recommendations 1. 3. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. It All Adds Up 8. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? . Most Important Summary Point 1. 4. Tracking Recommendations 5. The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Recommendations 3. How to Select Ergonomic Controls 7. The Logic Tree: a Tool to Identify Flawed Systems of Safety 2. 1. The Study of Work 6. Design Offers the Most Protection 4. Systems of Safety and Sub-Systems (Examples) 3.
43 .Activity 3: Tackling Toxic Chemical Myths Purpose To help us see through the common myths about the health impact of toxic chemicals at the workplace.
I also know people who work with chemicals and haven’t gotten cancer. How can they avoid getting cancer? “In my opinion. I’ve worked with this stuff for 20 years and I’m okay. So. please review the factsheets on pages 45 through 56 and try to refer to at least one factsheet when you present your response. If you use your nose to warn you and don’t breathe the stuff. In your groups. What would you say to this worker? 44 .Activity 3: Toxic Myths Task 1 Assume you’ve been asked by the Joint Health & Safety Committee to respond to a worker who made the statement below. In doing so. “It’s obvious that all cancer doesn’t come from chemicals. evaluate the statement and prepare a brief response for this worker. They can blow your lungs away. it won’t harm you. you must respect acids and avoid them. what’s all the fuss about?” 1. Statement: “The danger of these chemicals is overstated. “I don’t buy this panic about cancer. I know some people who got cancer but they never even worked with chemicals. The way they do lab tests is to shoot tons of chemicals into rats. Of course.
How Hazardous Materials and Other Toxic Chemicals Enter Your Body The three basic ways toxics enter your body are: • Direct Contact – on the skin or eyes • Absorption – through the skin • Ingestion – through the mouth with food. causing harm. Watch out for both toxic liquids and vapors. 45 . Absorption = Penetration Some chemicals can pass right through the skin undetected and enter the bloodstream. Many acids – such as liquids or vapors – can burn the skin or eyes. Examples include many solvents and pesticides. They are carried throughout the body. Broken skin or puncture wounds greatly increase the rate at which chemicals are absorbed. etc. • Inhalation – through the lungs Mouth Skin Lungs Direct Contact = Surface Some chemicals burn or irritate the skin or eyes on contact.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 1. causing damage on the surface. Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye membrane) are two examples.
They can enter your system by being absorbed through the skin or by being ingested with your food and drink. as the chart below shows. A Textbook of Modern Toxicology. different parts of your body absorb chemicals at very different rates. Absorption of Toxic Chemicals by Your Body Toxics can enter and harm your body even if you don’t breathe them in.E. Hodgson and P.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 2. 34-35. In fact. when it comes to absorption through the skin.) HIGH: Forehead/Scalp MEDIUM: Back/Forearm LOW: Palm VERY HIGH: Scrotum* LOW: Foot/Ankle Absorption of Chemicals into the Skin at Different Sites of the Body Scrotum Forehead/Scalp Absorbs 300 times more than foot 34 times more Back/Forearm Palm/Ankle Foot 0 10 times more 5 times more 50 100 150 200 250 300 Source: E. 1987. 46 . *For men (studies of female workers yet to be done). Levi. NewYork: Elsevier. (Wash your hands BEFORE using the bathroom. pp.
For example. 47 . you’re already in trouble. Let’s face it. if you can smell phosgene. for some chemicals. That means that after a while we can no longer smell even very powerful odors. Your Nose Doesn’t Always Know You can’t really rely on your sense of smell to protect you from exposure to toxic chemicals. No one’s nose can smell it. some dangerous chemicals are odorless. For example. • Thirdly. you can only detect the smell when the toxic is around you in such large quantities that your health is already being harmed. Here are three basic ones: • First of all. our noses can become accustomed to chemicals with very strong odors. our noses can learn not to smell such strong odors as ammonia and chlorine.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 3. your nose has some important limitations. • Secondly. such as carbon monoxide.
It is measured by the concentration of the substance and the time period of the exposure. but at high concentrations it will cause the heart to beat irregularly. the larger the dose. For example. • A certain level of dosage must be present before there is a bodily response. 48 . no matter how small. “Dose” refers to how much of a substance reacts with the body. Dose and the Body’s Response Toxic chemicals and their wastes react with the body. The body can react to the dose of a toxic substance in two ways: • The body may have a reaction to any dose. the body must be exposed to a sufficient dose of the chemical. The longer the exposure. low-level exposure to the freon used to cool machinery in a gaseous diffusion plant is not harmful. This reaction has caused occupational fatalities.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 4. This type of response may occur with exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and cancer-causing physical agents. the larger the dose. such as radiation. For most toxic substances to cause harm. The higher the concentration. This type of response is found with most toxic chemicals (but not with cancer-causing agents and chemicals).
Chronic Effects “Chronic” means that the disease will not be seen for some time after exposure. • Carbon monoxide binds up your red blood cells. The differences are caused by the amount of the dose. you may die. • Exposure to benzene over a long period of time can cause leukemia. • Caustic soda corrodes the skin. You know it immediately. causes an immediate irritation to the respiratory tract. a chronic effect. • Lung diseases. when inhaled. like bronchitis and emphysema. another chronic disease. a chronic effect. • Exposure to PCBs of large doses can cause a skin disease called chloracne. The two words that describe this are acute and chronic. • Exposure to arsenic over a long period of time can cause lung cancer. The Short and Long of It Disease can occur quickly after exposure to toxics. You know it immediately. and if enough red blood cells are bound. chronic diseases. High doses generally cause acute effects. It is associated with low exposures over a period of time. are examples of non-cancerous. • Solvents can cause early senility. Low doses absorbed over time cause chronic effects. Acute Effects “Acute” means that health effects are felt at the time of exposure or shortly after. It burns. Many chemicals will cause both chronic and acute effects. It acts almost immediately. or it can take years to develop.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 5. • Cancer is a chronic effect. 49 . • Hydrogen fluoride.
we have learned the hard way that a certain number of chemicals and technological processes cause cancer in humans.4-Butanediol Dimethylsulfonate (Myleran)* Chlorambucil* 1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-Methylcyclohexyl)-1 Nitrosourea (MeCCNU) Chromium and certain Chromium Compounds Conjugated Estrogens* Cyclophosphamide* Diethylstilbestrol* Erionite Melphalan* Methoxsalen with Ultraviolet A Therapy (PUVA)* Mustard Gas 2-Naphthylamine Radon Thorium Dioxide Vinyl Chloride Manufacturing Processes and Mixtures of Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer** Aluminum Production Auramine Manufacture Boot and Shoe Manufacture and Repair Certain Combined Chemotherapies for Lymphomas* Coke Oven Emissions Furniture Manufacture Hematite Underground Mining Isopropyl Alcohol Manufactured by the Strong Acid Process Nickel Refining Painter (occupational exposure) Rubber Manufacture (certain occupations) Soots. (The list below includes only known human carcinogens. Research Triangle Park.S. and Mineral Oils Source: U. but they are still considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer to be human carcinogens. 200 to 300 chemicals are suspected of causing cancer. Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens.) Sadly. In addition. *Therapeutic substances known to cause cancer. NC: NTP. 50 . Known Human Carcinogens Aflatoxins 4-Aminobiphenyl Analgesic Mixtures Containing Phenacetin Arsenic and Certain Arsenic Compounds Asbestos Azathioprine* Benzene Benzidine Bis (Chloromethyl) Ether and Technical Grade Chloromethyl Methyl Ether 1.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 6. Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer in Humans Although we’re a long way from knowing all the causes of cancers. National Toxicology Program. Tars. 1994. **The Seventh Annual Report no longer lists these processes (with the exception of coke oven emissions and soots. tars and mineral oils) because neither the specific substance nor the specific steps in the manufacturing processes that are likely to cause the cancers have been identified. science found out about these carcinogens from workers who already experienced the terrible impact of these substances.
but there’s really no way of knowing who will become sick. and asbestosis (see the factsheet on page 52). vol. we’re quite different as individuals. But not all asbestos workers get these diseases. Selikoff. For example. if a large group is exposed to a large dose of a toxic chemical. mesothelioma.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 7. 643. they run a very high risk of dying from lung cancer. The Odds of Getting Disease While humans are all pretty much the same. J. Percentage of Asbestos Workers Who Die of 3 Major Asbestos-Related Diseases P e r c e n t o f A s b e s t o s W o r k e r s 25 24%* 20 15 10 9% 5 9% 0 Lung Cancer Mesothelioma Asbestosis *14-19 percent of these deaths could have been avoided if these workers had not been exposed to asbestos. We do know that such an exposure will cause some of us disease. as a group. let’s look at asbestos insulators. Source: I.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1991. not all of us will develop disease. We now know that. 51 . For example. The chart below shows the incidence of these diseases in asbestos workers between 1967 and 1986. Public Health Control. “The Third Wave of Asbestos Disease: Exposure to Asbestos in Place.
” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. General Population 500 N u m b e r o f D e a t h s 507 400 300 200 100 0 Asbestos Workers General Population 145 52 .J. They study groups of exposed workers and groups of people not exposed but whose habits are otherwise similar.2 0. These graphs compare deaths in a population of 17.6 0. The branch of science that studies this is called epidemiology. Deaths From Lung Cancer Asbestos Workers Vs. the exposure is considered to be a cause of cancer.800 people in the general population from 1967 to 1986.168 269 Asbestos Workers General Population Deaths From Mesothelioma Asbestos Workers Vs. Source: I.0 1.0 0.2 N u m b e r o f D e a t h s 1.4 0. vol. If the workers’ rates of cancer are higher.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 8. How Do We Know When a Toxic Substance Really Causes Human Disease? It is true that in most cases people who aren’t exposed to workplace toxic chemicals develop the same kinds of cancers as workers who are exposed to carcinogens. Public Health Control. we know that exposed workers suffer more cases of a particular kind of cancer than we would find in the population at large. “The Third Wave of Asbestos Disease: Exposure to Asbestos in Place. 643. this is how scientists “prove” that something is a human carcinogen. 1991. But the numbers are very different.800 asbestos workers and 17. General Population Thousands 1. In fact. General Population 500 N u m b e r o f D e a t h s 400 458 300 200 100 0 Asbestos Workers General Population 0 Deaths From Chronic Respiratory Disease Asbestos Workers Vs. When we say something is a human carcinogen.8 0. Selikoff.
Do Animals Tell the Truth? There are some pretty good indications that substances that cause cancer in animals cause cancer in people. 10.” Science. 53 . too. it won’t contract cancer.) Animals are given large doses but only so that the cancer will appear more rapidly. January 4. For example. From human studies. Large doses in themselves don’t cause cancer. How Accurate Are Animal Studies? Substances Known To Cause Human Cancer Number of Substances Known To Cause Human Cancer 34 Number of These Substances That Also Cause Cancer in Animals 31 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Source: David P. (200 to 300 other chemicals are suspected to cause cancer in humans. “Carcinogens and Human Health: Part 2. p. if an animal receives large doses of a safe substance. 31 of these also cause cancer in animals. 1991. Rall.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 9. scientists have learned that 34 substances are now known to cause cancer. The remaining three may also cause cancer in animals – adequate studies just haven’t been done yet.
S. Washington. Office of Technology Assessment. November 1987.S. Congress. How Many of the 50.S. The U. about half (144) had been shown to cause cancer in animals. Identifying and Regulating Carcinogens. 18. Of those 284 chemicals. They found that of the more than 50. 54 .Activity 3: Toxic Myths 10. only 284 had been tested on animals by the government in the preceeding 10 years. p.000 Chemicals in Use Are Gov’t Tested for Cancer on Animals Total Chemicals in Commercial Use 50. Congress’s Office of Technology Assessment reviewed the evidence on identifying cancer-causing chemicals in 1987. OTA-BP-H-42.000 Tested for Cancer by Gov’t on Animals 284 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 THOUSANDS Not All Government Tested Chemicals Cause Cancer Number Gov’t Tested on Animals 284 Number That Cause Animal Cancers 144 0 50 100 150 200 Number of Chemicals 250 300 Source: U. DC: U. What We Don’t Know May Hurt Us The vast majority of chemicals in use by humans have not even been tested on rats.000 chemicals in commercial use. Government Printing Office.
55 . Percent of Substances for Which We Have at Least Limited Information 40 P e r c e n t o f S u b s t a n c e s 35 36% 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Drugs Drugs Pesticides Pesticides Food Additive Food 34% 19% 12% Additives Commercial Commercial Chemicals Chemicals Source: Toxicity Testing – Strategies to Determine Needs and Priorities. we only know about a relatively small number of chemicals. The chart below shows that when it comes to health and safety. National Research Council. The chart refers to the percent of chemicals of different types about which science has any health and safety information at all. 1984. we produce chemicals first and ask questions later.Activity 3: Toxic Myths Unfortunately.
Average Number of Years After Exposure for Cancer First To Appear Chromium & Chromates Arsenic Mustard Gas Acrylonitrile Benzene Vinyl Chloride Benzidine & its Salts Napthylamine Asbestos 0 5 10 15 20 25 10 15 16 22 33 30 35 17 23 21 25 Years Source: B. 1983. H. S. eds.. Brown & Co. The sad fact is that it can take 10 to 40 years to see the results of a harmful exposure to a cancer-causing chemical. Levy and D. The chart below shows some of the latency periods for different carcinogens. Occupational Health: Recognizing and Preventing Work Related Disease. 56 . Wegman. You may be healthy for 20 years and develop it the very next year. Exposure + Time = Cancer It’s a big mistake to believe that all is well if you’ve been exposed for many years and have no symptoms.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 11. The time cancer takes to show up is called the latency period.. Boston: Little.
Activity 3: Toxic Myths Task 2 In your groups. the exposures are low. review the factsheets on pages 59 through 63 and refer to at least one factsheet in giving your group’s response. So we can now honestly tell our members that we have created a safe work place. please evaluate the statement below and prepare a response. What is your group’s response to this worker’s statement? 57 . Statement: “Because our company and union have really tried hard to prevent exposures to toxic chemicals. “While it’s true that we still use carcinogenic chemicals. we now have all our readings below the OSHA permissible exposure limits. Again.” 1.
September 1986. below) and to cure and control them. 1983. U. nothing can be done to reverse the disease. The truth is that we cannot count on medicine to protect us from exposure. right side). However. Environmental and Occupational Medicine. Even if tests are used to detect the disease early. and James Merchant. Our goal must always be to stop the exposure before it starts the disease. Boston: Little Brown and Company.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 12. many serious occupational diseases cannot be treated at all (see list. Health and Human Services. by the time the disease shows up on the test.S. 58 . Diseases that can be detected early and can be cured or controlled Bladder Cancer Colon Cancer Asthma Cotton Dust Disease Diseases that usually cannot be reversed even when detected early Asbestosis Lung Cancer Leukemia Silicosis Sources: William Rom. Occupational Respiratory Disease. The Strengths and Limitations of Modern Medicine and Science Modern medicine has the ability to detect some diseases early (see the list on the left.
59 . Before OSHA had begun setting standards in 1970. Ziem. These cover only approximately 425 substances of the tens of thousands in use in the workplace. In fact. “Corporate Influence on Threshold Limit Values. In 1971. I. 13: 531-559. Castleman and G. but the standards were challenged and removed in court in the basis that OSHA did not follow proper procedures. OSHA adopted nearly all of the ACGIH 1968 standards. In 1989. The standards currently in effect are from the 1968 ACGIH TLVs. Source: B. Although the word “government” is in the title. ACGIH has published an annual report of TLVs. These TLVs were never meant to be mandatory standards.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine. threshold limit values (TLVs) were established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). How OSHA Health Standards Were Born OSHA standards did not simply come from impartial scientists who were deeply concerned about our health. OSHA updated the exposure standards based upon the 1987 ACGIH TLV list. 1988. many of the standards were adopted from unpublished industry studies (which means nobody could verify them).Activity 3: Toxic Myths 13. Every year since 1946. E. this is not a government organization. instead they were workplace exposure guidelines to be followed by government contractors.
60 . the first step in a lengthy process of issuing a new regulation. April 23. OSHA issued a notice of proposed rule-making. The agency promised a standard by the end of the year. Unions appealed this decision to the U. OSHA issued the emergency standard. Nothing happened. and in December. power – not just science – determines which levels are changed and how much they change. Circuit Court. The American Petroleum Institute and other industry representatives went to court to challenge OSHA’s standard. a group of unions filed suit against OSHA with the Washington.C. The Supreme Court backed the lower court’s decision. Often. Supreme Court.C. March 29. OSHA agreed to issue a standard by February 1987. 1983 and BNA Reporter. 1976 1977 1978 1980 1983 1984 1986 1987 1994 Source: Compiled by Cate Poe from interviews with Diane Factor and Peg Seminario. The Benzene Story 1974 When disturbing levels of leukemia appeared among Ohio tire builders who were exposed to benzene. OSHA lowered the standard to 1 ppm with a short-term exposure limit (STEL) of 5 ppm. NIOSH recommended that benzene be added to the list of carcinogens. 1984. AFL-CIO Health and Safety Department. NIOSH urged OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard reducing the permissible time-weighted exposure limit from 10 ppm to 1 ppm. With more evidence from Ohio.3 ppm. D.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 14. the D. ACGIH published a notice of intent to change limit to 0. In September. The unions accused OSHA of ignoring a six-year history of efforts to lower the benzene standard. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the standard based on employer arguments that OSHA failed to estimate the costs to industry that would result from the regulation. How OSHA Standards Are Changed Standard-setting by OSHA is a political process. OSHA rejected the coalition’s petition for an emergency temporary standard. See the case study below.S. and from The New York Times. NIOSH issued a criteria document urging further investigation. Armed with more data from NIOSH showing that workers exposed to benzene for even brief periods were six times more likely to die from leukemia. Court accepted this. with a 5 ppm limit over any 15-minute period. a coalition of unions and public health groups petitioned OSHA for a new emergency standard. It usually takes a very strong effort from worker and public interest groups to get any of the standards changed.
The workplace should be designed as safe as reasonably achievable. Safety and the ALARA Principle The goal of health and safety programs should not be minimum compliance.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 15. as low as reasonably achievable. Source: U.1 61 . For example.S. Departament of Energy Order 5480.S. but this is a far more “reasonable” approach than to rely on mere compliance with minimum standards to protect workers’ health and safety. Department of Energy (DOE) uses a principle for eliminating radiation exposure hazards called ALARA. The ALARA principle is a good guideline for the PACE/MMRx safety teams to use when deciding how far to go to protect the health and safety of its employees. The DOE mandates that workplaces are designed and operated in a manner that limits exposures to the lowest levels that are reasonably achievable. DOE policy states that compliance with minimum rules for radiation exposure is insufficient. It may cost more money. An effective safety committee aims to reduce harmful exposures to the lowest possible level. The question that comes up is “how far do we go to eliminate hazards?” The U. We should expect no less for our own facilities. For example. a good workplace safety committee does not settle for keeping exposures to harmful chemicals just a hair below the permissible exposure limits. the installation of state-of-the-art pill dust collectors over the dispensing bakers can be an effective way of reducing exposures.
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. we still may be receiving deadly exposures. June 1990.2 P a r t s p e r M i l l i o n 12 10 10 micrograms per cubic meter 8 6 4 2 2 micrograms per cubic meter 0 OSHA NIOSH 1. The OSHA standards that are eventually enforced are often compromises among government. NIOSH Recommendation 6 5 5 mg/m3 4 3 2 1 1 mg/m3 0 OSHA NIOSH 600 600 ppm 500 400 300 200 100 120 ppm 0 OSHA NIOSH mg/m3 = milligrams per cubic meter ppm = parts per million Source: U. This means that even if a company is within OSHA standards. As a result.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 16.0 OSHA NIOSH ppm = parts per million Manganese M i l l i g r a m s p e r C u b i c M e t e r N-Pentane OSHA Standard Vs.4 0.2 0. NIOSH Recommendation M i c r o g r a m s p e r C u b i c M e t e r Benzene OSHA Standard Vs. NIOSH Recommendation 700 P a r t s p e r M i l l i o n OSHA Standard Vs. 62 . NIOSH Recommendation 1.S.6 0. industry and labor.0 1 ppm 0. How and Why NIOSH and OSHA Differ NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) recommends standards to OSHA based on scientific studies of hazards.8 0. Arsenic OSHA Standard Vs. NIOSH’s recommended standards are stricter than OSHA levels (see charts). in many cases. Department of Health and Human Services.1 ppm 0.
Then. 25 ppm 10 ppm 1 ppm How Permissible Levels Change Over Time P a r t s p e r M i l l i o n The Case of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) 600 500 ppm 500 400 300 200 100 1 ppm 0 1962 1971 1974 200 ppm How Permissible Levels Change Over Time P a r t s p e r M i l l i o n The Case of Benzene 120 100 ppm 100 80 60 40 20 0 1946 1947 1948 1957 1974 1987 50 ppm 35 ppm 63 . lower levels may be needed. This resulted in threshold limit values (TLVs) of 200 ppm. In 1974. as more scientific knowledge is gathered. Safe Today. a plastic. a company announced that three of its VCM workers died of liver cancer. The charts below show how the standards change. In the case of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) which is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The standards for benzene have also declined. there is no proof that there are any safe levels of exposure to chemicals known to cause cancer. Benzene was first known to be a cause of leukemia in 1942. bones and kidneys. The history of “safe levels” shows us that. This ultimately caused the limit to be reduced to 1 ppm. animal research showed that PVC hurt the liver.Activity 3: Toxic Myths 17. What About Tomorrow? Unfortunately for us. a limit of 500 parts per million (ppm) was set in 1964 because the substance made people drowsy.
There are a variety of ways a toxic chemical can enter our bodies. Not all chemicals cause cancer. research suggests that many toxic chemicals affect the brain and nerves throughout the body. Sinai School of Medicine. Toxic chemicals cause other serious problems in addition to cancer. in fact. very useful for warning us about which chemicals might cause cancer in humans. neither in animals nor in humans. In many cases the OSHA standard is too high to ensure adequate protection. 3. Use of the ALARA principle is a good guideline for the Joint Health & Safety Committee. 4. Source: This summary was written by Dr. 64 . Animal studies are. Even if your exposure level is below OSHA standards. 5. Mt. 6. Also. The alternative to animal studies is to wait until human exposure results in disease. millions may have been exposed. but this can be a dangerous route of entry into the body. By that time. This latency period may give us a false sense of security when we work with very dangerous toxic chemicals. You are playing Russian roulette with your life if you think you are immune to toxic chemicals. With many toxic chemicals. disease only appears a long time after our exposure to them. Most carcinogens are not regulated properly. All health and safety risks should be kept as low as reasonably achievable. But it is impossible to identify which exposed person will get sick. 2. Steven Markowitz. you may still be exposed to very dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals. Absorption through the skin is often ignored. It’s true that not everyone who gets exposed to a toxic chemical becomes sick. We now know that the reproductive systems of men and women workers may be damaged or impaired. 8.Activity 3: Toxic Myths Summary: Toxicology in Brief 1. The official OSHA standards do not universally protect us from getting cancer. 7.
How OSHA Standards Are Changed 15. Absorption of Toxic Chemicals by Your Body 3. Safe Today. What We Don’t Know May Hurt Us 11. The Odds of Getting Disease 8. Exposure + Time = Cancer 12. Do Animals Tell the Truth? 10. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. How OSHA Health Standards Were Born 14. Some of the Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer in Humans 7. What About Tomorrow? continued .Evaluation Activity 3: Tackling Toxic Chemical Myths 1. Dose and the Body’s Response 5. Safety and the ALARA Principle 16. 1. How Hazardous Materials and Other Toxic Chemicals Enter Your Body 2. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. Your Nose Doesn’t Always Know 4. How and Why NIOSH and OSHA Differ 17. The Strengths and Limitations of Modern Medicine and Science 13. The Short and Long of It 6. How Do We Know When a Toxic Substance Really Causes Human Disease? 9.
7. 4. 4. 8. Most Important Summary Point 1. 5.3. 6. 2. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. 3. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? .
and to develop a local plan of action. 65 . * This Activity was originally created with a grant from the New York State Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program.Activity 4: Indoor Air Quality Problems in Our Facilities* Purpose To explore the problems associated with indoor air. This activity has three tasks. to discuss the range of strategic options for improving air quality in our facilities.
Activity 4: Indoor Air Task 1 In your small group. 4. Select one person to present a brief summary of your discussion to the whole group. 3. please discuss the following questions. 66 . 2. 5. Jot down some notes on what you discuss. What concerns do you and your co-workers have about the air quality in your facility? 1.
67 .” What’s your response? Please review the factsheets on pages 68 through 81 and try to use at least one in your response. but I just don’t believe that indoor air is a serious health and safety issue. state-of-the-art prescription filling facility. It’s okay to complain. what we have here is a clean. People just like to complain about life’s minor ailments and they are looking to blame something or someone. not a chemical factory. Statement: “Forgive me for differing with the common wisdom.Activity 4: Indoor Air Task 2 Your group is asked by the Joint Health & Safety Committee to respond to the statement below made by a management consultant to PharmChem. After all. but don’t expect us to take it all that seriously.
Complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building. 68 .Activity 4: Indoor Air 1. “Sick Building Syndrome. Symptoms of SBS include the following: • headache • eye.” Indoor Air Facts No. It conducts research and development and advises the government on policy directions for the environment. nose. but no specific illness or cause can be identified. April 1991. The EPA Definition The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal government agency concerned with matters of the environment. Most of the complainants report relief after leaving the building. What is indoor air pollution? Indoor air pollution has two terms associated with it: “sick building syndrome” (SBS) and “building-related illness” (BRI). DC: EPA. 4 (revised). Sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in the building. or throat irritation • dry cough • dry or itchy skin • dizziness and nausea • difficulty in concentrating • fatigue • sensitivity to odors Source: Environmental Protection Agency. Washington.
Symptoms of BRI include the following: • cough • chest tightness • fever • chills • muscle aches 69 .Activity 4: Indoor Air Building-related illness (BRI) is the term used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants. Complainants may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building. The symptoms can be clearly defined and have clearly identifiable causes.
Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers. but not limited to: SBS Symptoms: • eye.Activity 4: Indoor Air 2. Inc. headache • cough. asbestos and carbon dioxide. August 11. and the Indoor Air Quality Position Paper. of ASHRAE. radon. This phenomenon – also known as “sick building syndrome” – is characterized by a range of symptoms including. It is a technical society of some 50. wheezing • hoarseness • nausea. nose. airborne allergens and pathogens. The term “sick building” is used to describe a building in which a significant number (more than 20 percent) of building occupants report illness perceived as being building-related. volatile organic compounds (VOC). dizziness *The other environmental health issues associated with indoor air quality are indoor combustion. Source: Indoor Air Quality Position Statement. What is indoor air pollution? Among the many environmental health issues* associated with indoor air quality is the sick building syndrome. skin rash • mental fatigue. 1989. February 2. formaldehyde. 70 . The ASHRAE Definition ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating.000 members concerned with the technical means for conditioning the indoor air environment. and throat irritation • dryness of mucous membranes and skin • nose bleeds. 1987.
” in J. and muscle pain. coughing. Sources: “Is Your Job Making You Sick?” a CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women) handbook on workplace hazards. dermatitis. Vol.. It is the common term for a condition characterized by headaches. 753-755.J. It may be possible that SBS is a precursor of BRI – this means that if SBS symptoms are not mitigated. BRI (Building-Related Illness) BRI is the common name for infections or allergic responses (or poisonings) due to organisms (or chemicals) which grow or accumulate in buildings. James Woods. Building-related illnesses are distinguished from SBS by objective findings including hypersensitivity pneumonitis. “Cost Avoidance and Productivity in Owning and Operating Buildings. dizziness. eye. Hodgson. Vol. and various infections. nose. 10. These are frequently related to humidification systems or other components of temperature control. pp. fatigue. asthma. What Is the Difference Between SBS and BRI? SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) SBS is used to describe acute health and comfort effects experienced by workers in which no specific cause can be identified. No. Cone. October 1990. the problems may continue to intensify until BRI occurs. M.Activity 4: Indoor Air 3. 80. BRI complaints occur in settings which also have high complaint rates consistent with SBS. nausea. 4 of Occupational Medicine State of the Art Review 1989. throat and respiratory tract irritation. These symptoms diminish when the worker leaves the building. 1991. eds. 71 . “The Sick Building Syndrome: Where is the Epidemiologic Basis?” American Journal of Public Health. Problem Buildings: Building-Associated Illness and the Sick Building Syndrome. difficulty concentrating.
Custodial and maintenance work involves the use of such chemicals as ammonia. carpeting and construction materials. including equipment. fatigue and. paint strippers and cleansers which are associated with indoor air problems.Activity 4: Indoor Air 4. which irritates the eyes and the respiratory tract. Source: NYCOSH factsheet. may be found in furniture.” November 1990. resulting in sealed windows. Office equipment such as the photocopier may give off ozone. dizziness and nausea. causes headaches. and renovation work and can cause dry skin. “Indoor Air Pollution. These substances may cause respiratory irritation. ink toner in photocopying machines may contain toxic substances and carcinogens. Renovations and new furnishings may pollute indoor air. painting. and plywood. with higher exposure. one of the most common pollutants in office buildings. chronic lung disease. and has been shown to cause adverse genetic effects. These chemicals can easily spread through the ventilation system. putting everyone in the area at risk. solvents. What Are Some of the Sources of Indoor Air Pollution? Poor indoor air quality can be traced to many sources. These materials may emit formaldehyde which can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory system. blocked vents. headaches. Buildings are often designed or renovated without attention to ventilation. and eye irritation. and a general lack of fresh air. respiratory irritation. Also. particle board. new carpets. High doses may cause cancer. 72 . A variety of solvents are used in roofing. furniture. Formaldehyde.
infections (like Legionnaire’s Disease). and to affect the nervous system (causing headaches. Many are known to cause cancer and birth defects. Gasoline and diesel exhaust. can enter buildings through improperly located air-intake vents or from loading docks. containing carbon monoxide and cancer-causing substances. and lungs. including boiler gas and cigarette smoke. Exhaust and cigarette smoke can pollute indoor air. nausea and muscle and nerve damage). Microorganisms can cause allergic reactions. to irritate the skin. causing similar problems.Activity 4: Indoor Air One particularly dangerous group of toxic substances is pesticides. or protozoa) which can be dispersed throughout the building. bacteria. These highly toxic substances can remain in the air long after being sprayed. and can be traced to many sources. Dampness or standing water in the ventilation system can breed microorganisms (fungi. 73 . dizziness and nausea. Dampness can also build up in carpets or within walls. dizziness. Carbon monoxide causes headaches. eyes. and can contain chemicals which have been shown experimentally to affect the immune and cardiovascular systems.
bus exhaust (operating in loading areas or adjacent to buildings) Building materials Solvents (cleaners. bacteria. glues. 74 . algae. white-out. copiers. walls and furniture 2. penicillin. protozoans. truck. *Chemicals which turn to gas at room temperature. pollen. The effects of inhaling these potent substances are currently under study. Major Indoor Air Pollutants in Facilities: Health Effects and Sources Contaminants 1. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)* Over 1. throat and respiratory system irritations Fatigue Shortness of breath Headache Nausea At higher levels – death Irritation of eyes and upper respiratory tract Some VOCs may be carcinogenic or have reproductive effects Sources Cigarette smoke Gas ranges Auto. rubber cement) Printed documents Vinyl Caulking Paints Adhesives Cosmetics Telephone cable Felt tip pens Humidifiers Flush toilets Ice machines Water accumulation in air conditioners Water towers Mildewed papers Infected individuals Water-logged carpets. fungal spores.Activity 4: Indoor Air 5. mold and dust mites Three Types of Effects: Infections: Viral and bacterial disease (like Legionnaire’s Disease) Immunologic Reactions: Allergic rhinitis Asthma Humidifier fever (flu-like) Hypersensitivity pneu monitis Skin reactions Reaction to Toxins: Microorganisms produce chemical toxins such as aflatoxin.000 observed Two of the most common – benzene and chloroform – are carcinogenic Other examples: ethyl and methyl alcohol 3. and trichothecenes. Combustion Processes Carbon monoxide Nitrogen oxide Particulate materials Health Effects Eye. printing presses. Bioaerosols (Biological agents) Airborne matter of micro biological origin from viruses.
“Breathing Uneasy: The Truth About Sick Building Syndrome. chipboard) Insulation Combustion Textiles Furnishings Floor coverings Fabrics (permanent-press finish) 5. Radon A naturally occurring. “Indoor Air Pollution.. pp. nose. Inc. September 1990. Asbestos Lung disease Lung cancer Mesothelioma Sources: American Society of Heating. and Richard Laliberte. 1987. odorless. throat irritation Dermatitis Long-Term Exposure: Headache Dizziness Nausea Coughing Menstrual irregularities Recurring upper respiratory infections Sources Pressed wood products (plywood. Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. 75 . PhD and Mary Sue Henifin.” August. but gets special attention because it’s so prevalent Health Effects Low-Level Exposure: Eye.” Health. MPH. 63-82. “Indoor Air Quality Position Paper.” chapter in Office Work Can Be Dangerous To Your Health. hollow concrete block walls Asbestos insulation and fireproofing materials Floor tile 6. Formaldehyde A VOC. 1983. tasteless radioactive gas Lung cancer Part of rocks and soil Found in building foundations and building materials (concrete blocks) Enters a building through cracks in sewer pipes and in concrete. Jeanne Stellman. New York: Pantheon Books.Activity 4: Indoor Air Contaminants 4. wall/floor joints.
• The World Health Organization has estimated that as many as 30 percent of newly constructed and remodeled buildings may have problems associated with sick building syndrome (SBS).” Health. may have health problems associated with SBS. “Sick Building Syndrome: Air on the side of safety and health..S. and Drs.2 million commercial buildings in the U. November 20. and in Europe are offices.Activity 4: Indoor Air 6. 1989. have problems that are related to SBS or BRI (building related illness).. eds. “Building-related Illnesses. • The Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air as the number four health risk in the U. “Breathing Uneasy: The Truth About Sick-building Syndrome. and that 10 to 30 percent of the occupants may be affected.S. 76 . • Approximately 800.” Safety & Health. • The New England Journal of Medicine reports that up to 60 percent of workers in surveys of buildings reported SBS symptoms. M. September 1996.J. hospitals and other major structures in the U. 1990. “Cost Avoidance and Productivity in Owning and Operating Buildings. Vol. “Indoor Air Quality Research. p. whereas the other 20 to 50 million might report symptoms associated only with SBS.000 to 1. This means that. 103. approximately 30 to 70 million people are being exposed to potential building-related health problems. Problem Buildings: Building-Associated Illness and the Sick Building Syndrome. Indoor Air Pollution. Cone. approximately one-third might be expected to have symptoms associated with SBS and BRI. 64. Of this group. Sources: World Health Organization. Dick Manzies and Jean Bourbeau. • Healthy Buildings International in Virginia estimates that up to one half of the offices and government buildings. 4 of Occupational Medicine State of the Art Review. assuming typical occupancy levels. Copenhagen: WHO. Hodgson. 1986. Ten to 25 percent reported SBS symptoms ocurred at least twice a week. and it is at the top of the list of environmental cancer risks. September 1990.S.S. • More than one half of the workplaces in the U. 1997.” New England Journal of Medicine. OSHA Compliance Advisor No. Sick Buildings: A Growing Epidemic? Below are selected facts about the extent of the sick building problem. Vol. May 1987. Lani Sinclair. March 12. 151. Richard Laliberte. This proportion and the size of the white collar workforce are expected to continue to grow.” in J.” EURO Reports and Studies. James Woods.
continued 77 . The number of investigations has increased markedly since 1979 due to increased energy conservation measures and increased worker awareness of office environments. conducts research. provides hazard evaluations and education and recommends standards to OSHA. the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.Activity 4: Indoor Air 7. NIOSH Finds Air Quality Problems Are Increasing NIOSH. NIOSH now averages about two HHE (indoor air quality evaluations) requests per week. NIOSH has conducted approximately 450 field investigations of indoor air quality problems in many types of office buildings.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch. Other inside Microbiological Contamination 5% Contamination from Outside 11% Contamination from Building Fabric 3% Unknown 12% Inadequate Ventilation 52% Contamination from Inside Building 17% Source: A 1988 NIOSH guidance document. NIOSH provides some examples of the problems associated with each of the categories in the pie chart: Inadequate Ventilation (52%) The ventilation problems commonly encountered include: not enough fresh outdoor air supplied to the facility. butyl methacrylate from signature machines. (continued) The following pie chart summarizes the results of the 450 evaluations. and air filtration problems caused by improper maintenance or absence of maintenance to the system. and pressure differences between work areas. Examples include: methyl alcohol from duplicators. poor air distribution and mixing which causes stratification.Activity 4: Indoor Air 7. Cincinnati. NIOSH. 78 . and ammonia and acetic acid from blueprint copiers. Ohio 45226. Inside Contamination (17%) Copying machines are often found to be a significant source of indoor air problems. temperature and humidity extremes or fluctuations. draftiness.
fungi. and microbial by-products. improperly diluted cleaning agents such as rug shampoo. particle board. boiler gases. and acetic acid used as a curing agent in silicone caulking. The contamination may result from water damage to carpets or furnishings or standing water in ventilation system components.Activity 4: Indoor Air contamination problems include: exposures to pesticides. various organic solvents from glues and adhesives. This is usually the result of improperly located exhaust and intake vents or periodic changes in wind conditions. and dusts. and some glues and adhesives commonly used during construction. such as chlordane. Outside Contamination (11%) These problems typically involve substances found outside buildings – vehicle exhaust. Building Material Contamination (3%) Formaldehyde can off-gas (come off as a gas) from urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. Microbiological Contamination (5%) Even though this is not a common cause of indoor air problems. solvents. it can result in a potentially severe health condition known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. and previously exhausted air – which are drawn back into the building ventilation system. dermatitis from boiler additives. plywood. tobacco smoke of all types. Other outside contamination problems include contaminants from construction or renovation projects such as asphalt. 79 . This respiratory problem can be caused by bacteria. Other building fabric contamination problems include: dermatitis resulting from fibrous glass erosion in lined ventilating ducts. such as diethyl ethanolamine. protozoa.
The studies compared the rate at which symptoms occur in naturally ventilated (with windows) and air-conditioned buildings.2 x higher 4.0 x higher 1.1 x higher 2.5 x higher 1.6 x higher 0. October 1990. the first line of the chart says that Study 1 found that office workers are 5.1 times more likely to experience lethargy in an air-conditioned building with no humidification than those who work in a building with natural ventilation.2 x higher 4. PhD.” American Journal of Public Health.9 x higher 3.5 x higher 2.2 x higher 3.4 x higher 5. Smith. The chart on this page is not inclusive of all the results of each study. Vol.5 x higher 1. 80 .0 x higher * Each study did not examine all of the same symptoms.0 x higher 1. We chose a range of symptoms to provide an overview of the issue instead.1 x higher 2. 80. Source: Mark J.5 x higher 0.Activity 4: Indoor Air 8.8 x higher 3.1 x higher 2.7 x higher 1. As the chart below shows. Mendell.9 x higher 2. MPH and Allan H. MD.1 x higher 2. No.1 x higher 4.8 x higher 4. “Consistent Pattern of Elevated Symptoms in Air-Conditioned Office Buildings: A Reanalysis of Epidemiologic Studies. For example. Natural Ventilation: Healthier than Air-Conditioning Six different studies examined the relationship between building ventilation and work-related symptoms. the chances that a worker will suffer from almost each symptom are greater in an air-conditioned environment. Humidification Central Nervous System 1 2 3 4 1 Lethargy Lethargy Headache Lethargy Upper Respiratory Nose Symptoms Dry Throat/Blocked Nose Eye Symptoms 2 Throat Symptoms Eye Lower Respiratory 1 3 Tight Chest Wheeze Tight Chest Difficulty Breathing Flu-like Symptoms Skin 1 2 6 Itching Dry Skin Dry Skin or Rash 1.6 x higher 2.2 x higher – – 4.1 x higher 2.7 x higher 1.4 x higher 2. Rate of Symptoms Compared to Naturally Ventilated Buildings: Selected Results of Six Studies* Study Symptoms Air Conditioned.1 x higher 2.7 x higher – 1.7 x higher 2.7 x higher 2. No Humidifier Air Conditioned. 10.
81 . damage to metals. paper and magnetic storage media – i. • The EPA also points out that poor indoor air quality results in actual damage to property (e.g. tapes).e.S. textiles. paints.3 billion annually.Activity 4: Indoor Air 9.” Safety & Health. Source: Lani Sinclair. “Sick Building Syndrome: Air on the side of safety and health. Indoor Air Pollution Increases Economic Costs • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in the U. September 1996. • A study cited by the EPA found that poor indoor air quality results in 14 minutes lost for each eight-hour day. the medical costs of cancer cases associated with poor indoor air quality range from $188 million to over $1. This adds up to $41 billion in lost productivity annually.
Your task. 5. First read the examples in the factsheets. then discuss and list some possible approaches your union might take to solve the indoor air quality problem. as a group. There is information about indoor air standards as well as examples which show what other unions have done to clean up their indoor air environments. 82 . 3. 2. is to develop a local plan of action to begin tackling the problem of indoor air pollution in your facility. 4.Activity 4: Indoor Air Task 3: Local Plan of Action Please look over the factsheets on pages 83 through 88 to assist you in developing a local plan of action. Local Plan of Action: 1.
OSHA Proposes Limited Standard In March. 1994. • Require that workers be notified three days in advance if chemicals (such as pesticides and cleaning compounds) are to be used in their work area. • Establish a written record of employees’ complaints of building-related illness. Some experts believe that the rule offers insufficient protection against environmental illnesses and sick building syndrome. Source: NYCAP News. The rule covers offices. and • Maintain healthy indoor air during renovations. 1994 OSHA released a proposed rule (1910. Early Summer. and retail businesses. continued 83 . schools. The proposed rule would require that employers: • Develop and implement indoor air quality compliance plans. there is a vague provision which requires that workers be notified three days in advance if chemicals (such as pesticides and cleaning compounds) are to be used in their work area.1033) aimed at regulating indoor air quality at non-industrial work sites.Activity 4: Indoor Air 10. ventilation and air-conditioning systems. health care facilities. Also. including inspections and maintenance of heating.
workplace exposure limits for certain chemicals. They represent the maximum exposure to a particular chemical that a worker can receive in a given period. OSHA Standards: Protection for All Workers? The OSHA standards were developed for workers in industrial settings who have frequent contact with hazardous chemicals and not for workers with indoor ari pollution problems. These limits are called Threshold Limit Values (TLVs). The concentrations of contaminants which result in symptoms are way below the standards set by industry.Activity 4: Indoor Air 10. 84 . In fact. for the first time. (continued) OSHA’s Industrial Standards Offer Little Protection In 1971 OSHA established. some levels may be so low that they are not even detected by measuring equipment or by an industrial hygienist’s monitoring devices.
particleboard and plywood as affects IAQ since 1980. carbon dioxide. some 15 states have developed standards or codes regarding indoor air quality (IAQ). *The Environmental Law Institute in Washington. New Hampshire (with 7 statutes or codes). Over the last 17 years. radon and local building codes directed at these issues [1616 P Street NW. have more general standards. It also prohibits the manufacture or sale of urea-formaldehyde. especially notification thereof. covers public employees. including Maine (which has 10 statutes or codes enacted from 1977-1997). requires the state to set and meet standards in state buildings. For example. DC maintains a data base on what states are doing on indoor air quality in general and on lead paint. asbestos. and prohibits aerial application of pesticides in many areas. including zero emission ice resurfacing equipment. has had standards applying to urea folmaldehyde. asbestos. and formaldehyde. sets standards for noise.* Several of these states have only one or two standards which are limited to: disclosure of IAQ problems during residential real estate transactions. tobacco. New Jersey (3). 85 . Washington. Michigan (4). In 1995. adopts ASHRAE ventilation standards. California (with 17). A few of the states. As of 1997. About half of all the states have similar standards for public employees. 202/939-3802]. Florida (4). Minnesota (6). requires the state to investigate complaints of poor IAQ. What Are the States Doing? While OSHA standards apply to private sector workers nationwide.Activity 4: Indoor Air 11. For example. DC 20036. it is up to each state to issue standards to cover state and local government employees. or are directed only at pesticide use. Minnesota. New York (3). radon. applicants for state school construction/renovation funding must include IAQ considerations and local school districts are required to have IAQ monitoring plans. in 1981. as another example. A similar standard in New Jersey. or are directed at the use of insulation – especially containing urea-formaldehyde. New Hampshire requires all new state and public buildings to conform to standards not lower than those in the BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators International) Basic Building Code. and Connecticut (4). New York passed the Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) Act which extends OSHA coverage to New York State public sector workers. it required adoption and enforcement of rules and laws relating to IAQ and sports arenas. PEOSH. in schools and sports arenas.
whether or not smoking is permitted. ASHRAE Standard 62 (see below) is the basis for almost all of the ventilation requirements contained in North American building codes and is also the basis for the few state laws that exist.Activity 4: Indoor Air 12. unless incorporated into a law. ASHRAE Recommendations Set the Standards The American Society of Heating. However. by various unions in their own inspections. Their recommendations include the numbers of air exchanges required for adequate ventilation and ideal temperature ranges for facilities. ASHRAE guidelines are widely used by NIOSH in their building evaluations. their standards are not legally enforceable. and by occupational epidemiologists. ASHRAE Air Requirements for Offices (cfm/person*) Office spaces Reception areas Computer centers Conference rooms Smoking lounge *Cubic feet per minute per person 20 15 20 20 60 86 . The chart below suggests air requirements for specific areas. Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) publishes a standard on indoor air quality. ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality For all facility areas. fresh outdoor air should be adequately distributed during the entire time they are in use at a minimum rate of 20 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person.
Use the results of the survey for further union organizing – forming a committee. 3. at Labor Institute Training Session in December 1991. Investigate the building’s ventilation system. “How to Cure Indoor Air Pollution Problems. Sources: NYCOSH handout. perhaps new furnishings. “Indoor Air Quality and the Workplace. “Indoor Air Pollution. Technical assistance is available from NYCOSH. 4. NIOSH or State Agencies may provide assistance. or ceiling tiles missing or damaged.” AFSCME factsheet. or partitions. External sources. Conduct a survey of members. Ask the building manager to show you where fresh air enters the building. and check to see if those symptoms are linked to the job. dust from the ventilation system. Patterns such as time of day. such external sources as OSHA. What Can Your Health & Safety Committee Do Now? The following list represents suggestions made by many groups about what your committee can do to detect indoor air quality problems and solve them. filing petitions and grievances. Note recent changes in the facility. and comments made by Alice Freund. heat on or off. Industrial Hygienist. recent cleaning. Legislative action at the State or Federal level on indoor air pollution standards may also be pursued. the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (212-627-3900). or from your union health and safety department.” #20. 1. Inspect the building. Monitor the air.” CWA’s factsheet. week or season that people are most affected should also be noted. 87 . if there is one. machines.Activity 4: Indoor Air 13. 2. Look for problems typical of indoor air pollution. There should be both a supply and an exhaust vent in each room. Bring in an independent industrial hygienist or NIOSH to check the air for contaminants or inadequate ventilation. smoking. In the event the problem is not resolved through the efforts of the Safety Committee. You can check the effectiveness of the ventilation system by holding a tissue paper near the vents to see if they are working.
• Eliminate sources of contamination. Concrete Remedies to Improve Indoor Air Quality Unions or worker organizations may develop many recommendations. Sources: NYCOSH handout. • Ensure that people who work with hazardous substances are protected with adequate ventilation or protective equipment such as respirators. Fungi and bacteria grow under such conditions and must be removed regularly. • The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires management to provide you with information about all chemicals and compounds in use. • Clean and dry areas that are damp.” #20. • Make sure hazardous work is done only on weekends and get management to inform the union before it is done. and comments made by Alice Freund. • Maintain temperature within the comfort zone of 68 to 78 degrees and humidity within 30 to 60 relative humidity. Reduce the use of toxic substances in the building. Substitute less dangerous substances. such as photocopiers. 88 . “Indoor Air Quality and the Workplace. A tool called a velometer measures air flow and can be used to calculate the amount of fresh air per person. at Labor Institute Training Session in December 1991. “Indoor Air Pollution. Industrial Hygienist. • Ensure that all local exhaust systems pull polluted vapors away from people’s breathing areas and that local systems do not compete with the primary ventilation system. Here are some: • Increase the air supply. “How to Cure Indoor Air Pollution Problems.” AFSCME factsheet.Activity 4: Indoor Air 14.” CWA’s factsheet. • Bring in a ventilation engineer to ensure that air movement is sufficient and to recommend remedies for any problem areas. such as solvent-free carpet adhesives. Clean and maintain the ventilation system and open or unblock all sources of fresh air. • Isolate machines that release toxic fumes.
Indoor air quality is becoming a significant workplace issue. 5. In BRI. symptoms of a diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to contaminants in the building air. and keep up with the status of legislation. Studies have shown that workers are more likely to experience symptoms associated with sick building syndrome in “tight. Two terms associated with indoor air pollution in facilities are “sick building syndrome” (SBS) and “building-related illness” (BRI). or throat irritation. Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) . Standard 62 of the American Society of Heating.Activity 4: Indoor Air Summary: Indoor Air Quality 1. is the basis for almost all of the ventilation requirements included in North American building codes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air as the number two health risk in the country. 2. fever. tightness in the chest. This standard states that fresh air in building areas should be distributed at a minimum rate of 20 cubic feet per minute per person. Approximately 30 to 70 million people who work in commercial buildings experience building-related health problems. The Health and Safety Committee can take a range of actions to address the problems of indoor air quality: conduct a survey of members. and sensitivity to odors – all of which appear to be linked to time spent in the building. SBS is identified with symptoms such as headache. though not a law. compared with buildings in which the windows can be opened and closed. aches and chills. 89 . dizziness and nausea. 3. 6. but no specific illness or cause can be identified. bring in experts to monitor the air. Radon is listed as number one. dry cough. eye. request an inspection of the building. nose. file a complaint. building-related illness.” air-conditioned buildings. Symptoms include cough. 4. fatigue.
Activity 4: Indoor Air 90 .
Indoor Air Pollution Increases Economic Costs 10. What Are the States Doing? 12. ASHRAE Recommendations Set the Standards 13. Concrete Remedies to Improve Indoor Air Quality continued . The ASHRAE Definition 3. Sick Buildings: A Growing Epidemic? 7. NIOSH Finds Air Quality Problems Are Increasing 8. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. OSHA Proposes Limited Standard 11. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. Major Indoor Air Pollutants in Facilities: Health Effects and Sources 6. What Are Some of the Sources of Indoor Air Pollution? 5. What Is the Difference Between SBS and BRI? 4. The EPA Definition 2. What Can Your Health & Safety Committee Do Now? 14. 1. Studies Show that Natural Ventilation Is Healthier than Air-Conditioning 9.Evaluation Activity 4: Indoor Air Quality Problems in Our Facilities 1.
6. 4. 4. 5. 3. Most Important Summary Point 1. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? .3. 2.
To understand how ergonomics (the study of work so that the job is made to fit people’s bodies) can help protect us from RSIs. 91 .Activity 5: Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) Purpose To become more familiar with symptoms and work situations that are linked to a group of illnesses or injuries called repetitive stress injuries (RSI) and to evaluate if we are victims of this occupational problem.
They say it comes from doing the same thing again and again. please review the factsheets on pages 94 through 107. That’s how we get paid.) 92 . But I think the real problem is that people forget how to pace themselves. That’s how they make money. What are your agreements and disagreements with this statement? (Please try to refer to at least one factsheet in making your points. In doing so. I work a lot on a computer. If we learn to work smart. Statement: “Well. “There might be a few complainers around here who say it’s a big problem. I don’t buy it.” 1.Activity 5: RSIs Task In your groups please read the statement below made by a worker at PharmChem and answer the questions that follow. and I know from personal experience that all I need is a little rest and the soreness in my wrists goes away. we all get a little sore from doing repetitive jobs. That’s why it’s called work. “Work is all about doing the same things again and again. I hear they say there’s a big new disease around here called Repetitive Stress Injuries. we’ll be fine. Sure.
What do you think could be done to prevent these repetitive stress injuries at your facility? 93 . What jobs or tasks do you believe are causing repetitive stress injuries at your site? 3.Activity 5: RSIs 2.
The definition of CTD comes from the meaning of each word in the term. healthy functioning of the body. The term “RSI” is often used in the popular press like newspapers.Activity 5: RSIs 1. CTDs and Ergonomics? What are Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs)? A cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) is damage to body tissue caused by repeated physical stresses. • Disorder: a condition that interferes with normal. What Are RSIs. 94 . while “CTD” is used more in the scientific magazines. • Cumulative: building up or increasing over a long period of time. What are Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)? Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) is a general term (like CTD) used to describe a range of symptoms associated with repetitive motion work. • Trauma: the damage of body tissues by physical stress.
Activity 5: RSIs
What is Ergonomics? Ergonomics is the study of work – designing the job to fit people. Too often, workers are required to “fit the job.” We are told to lift heavy loads, use awkward postures, do repetitive tasks and other factors that can lead to sprained muscles, inflamed tendons, and damaged nerves. Using ergonomic principles to properly design the work environment, can allow us to do our jobs without disabling aches and pains.
Activity 5: RSIs
2. How Big Is the Problem?
There is an increase of RSIs in the workplace. In 1980, RSIs accounted for 18 percent of all new cases of occupational injuries. By 1991, the share skyrocketed to 61 percent! That means that by 1991 there were 233,600 new cases of repetitive stress injuries reported nationally.
RSIs as a Percent of All Occupational Injuries in the Private Sector
P e r c e n t o f I n j u r i e s
61% 60 50 40 29% 30 20 10 0 1980 1985 1990 1991 18% 56%
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Illness in U.S. by Industry 1991, Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1993.
Activity 5: RSIs
3. Some Jobs that May Be Associated with RSIs
Type of Job Data Entry Disorder Tension Neck Thoracic Outlet Wrist Tendinitis Epicondylitis Occupational Factors Prolonged restricted posture, forceful ulnar deviation and thumb pressure, repetitive wrist motion, forceful wrist extension and pronation. Prolonged load on shoulders, repetitive wrist motions, overexertion, forceful ulnar deviation. Repetitive wrist motions. Reaching overhead. Prolonged load on shoulder in unnatural position.
Packing Bag Sealing Coding Mail Opening
Tendinitis of shoulder and wrist Tension Neck Carpal Tunnel DeQuervain’s Tendinitis of the wrist
Opening Bottles/Safety Caps
Stockroom, Shipping Thoracic Outlet Shoulder-tendinitis
Source: Adapted from Vern Putz-Anderson, ed., Cumulative Trauma Disorders: A Manual for Musculoskeletal Diseases of the Upper Limbs, Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, Inc., p. 22.
Canadian Telephone Operators: A Case Study in Pain The following description was taken from a Canadian union’s study of operators’ tasks at Bell Canada. Here’s where it hurt: Where Is the Pain? Neck Shoulder Wrist or Hand Lower Back Higher Back Elbow or Arm 0 5 10 15 20 25 35% 30 35 40 51% 48% 44% 44% 41% 45 50 55 Percent 98 . Physical tasks included: • Tilting head to scan Video Display Terminal (VDT) • Tilting head to view keyboard • Twisting head to view documents • Reaching maneuvers • Typing maneuvers (hunt-and-peck/touch-type) • Movement of back and shoulders to properly see information on VDT and/or documents. discomfort or fatigue. Each operator performed approximately 14. Operators sit or stand wired to a work station during their shift. 1.018 (78 percent) reported pain.Activity 5: RSIs 4.000 keystrokes per day.000 to 15. Where It Hurts Of the 1.309 workers who answered the survey. They received two fifteen-minute breaks and a lunch break.
4%) Source: Jacques Reid. November 1993. Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.5%) • Cervical strain (17.0%) • Epicondylitis (5. which may have been work-related. Communications. Repetitive Strain Injury Survey of Operators Services at Bell Canada: A Union Approach. 99 . Michel Duplessis.3%) • Degenerative changes in neck (14.Activity 5: RSIs Three hundred sixty-eight operators reported specific diagnosed disease. Joel Carr.4%) • Carpal tunnel syndrome (13.1%) • Bursitis (16.2%) • Tenosynovitis (2. They were: • Tendinitis (31.
5 percent used their workers compensation benefits. November 1993.4%) • Vacation (2. Joel Carr. Workers Don’t Recognize That RSI May Be a Work-Related Disease To cope with the pain. Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. The rest used up their sick benefits.1%) Lost Time Benefits Used by Workers with RSIs 80 70 P e r c e n t 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Sick Benefits Workers Comp Voluntary Time Vacation 13.1% 10. Michel Duplessis.5%) • Voluntary time (no pay) (10. Source: Jacques Reid.4% 74% Work-related RSIs are legitimate occupational injuries and should be compensated (lost wages and loss of function) under the state’s workers compensation laws.Activity 5: RSIs 5. Communications. Repetitive Strain Injury Survey of Operators Services at Bell Canada: A Union Approach. but only 13. vacation time and unpaid leave. 100 . many operators had to stay home.5% 2. See your union representative for guidelines on the law in your state. • Sick Benefits (74%) • Workers’ Compensation (13.
Activity 5: RSIs
6. The Three Stages of RSI Symptoms
RSI symptoms can range from mild aching to disabling pain. Symptoms often appear gradually and become more severe over time. Generally, symptoms progress through three stages. Stage 1 At first, RSI symptoms appear during periods of activity. They disappear during periods of rest. Symptoms are relatively mild. Early symptoms of RSIs often are mistaken for muscle fatigue. Stage 2 In Stage 2, symptoms are more persistent. They do not disappear completely during periods of rest. Increasingly severe symptoms may interfere with performance of usual work activities. Stage 3 In Stage 3, symptoms are constant. Sleep often is disturbed. Severe pain, limited mobility, loss of sensation or muscle weakness make it impossible to perform most job tasks.
Activity 5: RSIs
7. RSIs and Job Risk Factors
Job Risk Factors
• Repetitiveness • Forcefulness • Awkward Postures • Mechanical Stress • Vibration • Exposure to Cold • Poor Fitting Gloves • Stress*
Repetitiveness + Forcefulness + Stress = Very High Risk
*Workplace stress, caused by such factors as increased boredom, fatigue, isolation and seemingly meaningless tasks, is now viewed, along with the well-known physical risk factors, as a root cause of RSIs. Source: Jacques Reid, Joel Carr, Michel Duplessis, Repetitive Strain Injury Survey of Operators Services at Bell Canada: A Union Approach, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, November 1993.
Activity 5: RSIs
8. The Most Common RSIs
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: Swelled tendons* in the carpal tunnel in the wrist pinch the nerve that allows hand grasp. SYMPTOMS Pain, numbness, tingling in thumb, index finger, middle finger, or arm; Wasting of muscles at base of thumb; Clumsiness of hands, difficulty grasping; Most noticeable at night or when awakening. CAUSES Working with wrists in bent position; Pinching or other forceful hand motion; Overuse of index finger; Circular twisting of wrists (wringing action); Tight or constant grip on tools.
DeQUERVAIN’S DISEASE: Lining of the tendons at the base of the thumb and side of the wrist becomes damaged. SYMPTOMS Sharp pain over front of wrist, forearm or thumb; Pain/discomfort when moving thumb. CAUSES Hand twisting while gripping (wringing action); Bending of the wrist toward pinkie, in combination with thumb movements (using scissors).
EPICONDYLITIS (TENNIS ELBOW): Swollen tendons in elbow. SYMPTOMS Pain over the elbow, usually outer side; Occasionally middle and ring fingers ache; Pain when grasping or lifting; Usually worse at night. CAUSES Using the arm for impact or jerky throwing motion; Rotating forearm while bending the wrist.
GANGLIONIC CYST: Tendon lining swells with fluid causing a bump from under the skin. SYMPTOMS A visible bump from under the skin (increases the risk of developing other RSIs). CAUSES Excessive bending of the wrist, or other joint.
RAYNAUD’S SYNDROME: Blood vessels in hand close. SYMPTOMS Hands become cold, numb, tingly, or blue; Unable to perform fine finger movements; Fingers become pale or white. CAUSES Cold temperature; Vibration; Forceful gripping.
TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: Nerve disorder of foot and ankle, similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
* Tendons are rope-like tissue that connect muscle to bone.
or stemming from. such as a blunt blow. TRIGGER FINGER: Tendinitis in a finger. TENOSYNOVITIS: Swelling of tendon lining. TENDINITIS: Swelling of tendons.” Weakened pulse in wrist. Associated with vibration. CAUSES Same as Tendinitis. THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME: Compression of nerves and blood vessels between neck and shoulder. SYMPTOMS Numbness or shooting pain in hand. SYMPTOMS Same as Tendinitis. finger is flexed. wrists. SYMPTOMS On awakening. Most noticeable in big toe and arch. (continued) SYMPTOMS Pain.Activity 5: RSIs 8. Pain when extending finger. tingling. CAUSES Repetitive bending of the fingers. CAUSES Overuse of tools with handles. in foot or leg. or elbows. CAUSES Reaching above the shoulder. CAUSES Repeated or constant ankle or foot movements. Vibration. numbness. Acute trauma. Clicking sensation in finger. Repeated or constant contact with tools. Finger loosens up during day. 104 . SYMPTOMS Swelling. controls or handles. Carrying loads on shoulder or sides of body. Repeating new or unaccustomed exertions. Pain. Arm “goes to sleep. Reaching behind or below seat height. burning sensation or dull ache over. affected area.
105 . to keep from tipping as you move around on it. thereby increasing blood flow to the legs and reducing stress. It should have: • A height adjustment so that your feet are comfortably placed (not dangling) and your knees are not too close to your chest. • An adjustment for lower back support so that the natural curve of your back is maintained. • A base with five legs instead of four.Activity 5: RSIs 9. Both should be easily adjustable to a point where the elbows form a comfortable 90-degree angle. which are padded platforms that fit in front of the keyboard to prevent the wrist from falling below the level of the key tops. Monitor screen height should be adjustable so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes. “Is Your Office a Big Pain?” Better Homes and Gardens. The use of an adjustable commercial foot rest which will help keep your legs at a comfortable angle. • Proper chair seat depth. Source: Amy Roffmann New. and the wrists are approximately lined up with your hands. Adjustable desks and/or keyboard trays. Wrist rests. which allows you to sit against the back of the chair with your lower back supported. September 1993. Suggestions for Reducing Workstation Stress The use of a comfortable well-designed chair is essential.
106 . Work Enlargement Add different elements or steps to the job which do not require the same motions as the current work cycle demands. highly repetitive operations. where possible.Activity 5: RSIs 10. In seated operations use foot pedals. Guidelines for Reducing Repetitive Motion Reduce Repetitive Effort Use mechanical assists or gravity to transfer parts rather than using the hands. design a five-minute break or another activity into each hour of work. Job Rotation Allow frequent rotation between jobs which use different postures and muscles until jobs can be redesigned to eliminate repetitive elements. Alter Work Methods For jobs requiring only one hand. Adjust Work Pace Allow frequent rest pauses or decrease production standards. For continuous. tools or fixtures when forces are high to eliminate repetitive gripping actions. Use power assists. organize the work station to allow alternate use of the hands. Allow self-pacing rather than machine pacing. for activating machinery or holding fixtures to reduce the load on the hands.
you may not have identified all the root causes. careful analysis must be made to identify the risk factors that pose the hazard and their causes. Components of an Effective Ergonomic Program What does it take to properly address ergonomic issues in your facility? Training All employees should have an understanding of ergonomic hazards and how to recognize and avoid them. Implement medical management – the use of health-care resources to prevent or manage RSIs. 107 . Control Design and implement corrective measures to control the hazard. Is the change accomplishing what you intended? If the problem still exists. National Safety Council. In a truly participatory program. workers will be empowered to become the ergonomic inspectors for the plant. Identification A systematic process to identify jobs or tasks that may contain hidden ergonomic hazards. Analysis Once problem areas are discovered. Source: Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry: Engineering and Technology. Monitor Follow up on any corrective change made. 10th Edition. 1992.Activity 5: RSIs 11.
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are a big problem. training. The major risk factors for RSIs are repetitiveness. Early reporting of symptoms is critical for proper medical treatment. RSI symptoms can range from mild aching to disabling pain. job analysis. A job task analysis should be done to determine if job conditions are contributing to or causing cumulative trauma disorders among workers. including employee involvement.) 5. 108 . 6. particularly so that all job hazards are identified and that recommended solutions will actually work to reduce RSIs. accounting for over 60 percent of all reported illnesses in the private sector. hazard control.Activity 5: RSIs Summary: Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) 1. awkward postures. 4. Symptoms generally progress through three stages. becoming more severe. forceful exertions. Union and employer involvement are important. 2. and appropriate medical management. A comprehensive RSI prevention program should include several parts. force. and vibration. 3. (The purpose of the analysis is the same as air monitoring to determine chemical exposure.
4. Workers Don’t Recognize RSI May Be a Work-Related Disease 6. CTDs and Ergonomics? 2. RSIs and Job Risk Factors 8. Components of an Effective Ergonomic Program 3. The Three Stages of RSI Symptoms 7. Canadian Telephone Operators: A Case Study in Pain 5. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. 5. Most Important Summary Point 1. Guidelines for Reducing Repetitive Motion 11. How Big Is the Problem? 3. 4. What Are RSIs. The Most Common RSIs 9. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. 6. 2. 3. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? . Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. 1. Some Jobs that May Be Associated with RSIs 4.Evaluation Activity 5: Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) 1. Suggestion for Reducing Workstation Stress 10.
109 .Activity 6: Strengthening the Health and Safety Committee Purpose To understand how joint labor-management health and safety committees become more effective.
Activity 6: Health and Safety
Please read the scenario below. Your small group is the joint health and safety committee at PharmChem. In your group, make a list of recommendations for the newly organized local union leadership. The PharmChem facility across town was recently organized by the 250 production and maintenance workers. The facility is the recipient of all of PharmChem’s liquid hazardous waste nationally. PharmChem has 15 facilities in the United States. The facility uses a natural-gas-fired kiln to burn the waste. The new local has asked your local leadership for advice and recommendations on how to set up a health and safety committee. Your local president delegated you and the committee to help set up the new health and safety committee. Please review the factsheets on pages 111 through 124 and make a list of recommendations and actions for the new local’s health and safety committee. List of Recommendations:
Activity 6: Health and Safety
1. Safety Committee Structure
The best safety committee structure is a joint labor-management committee. These committees may be formally spelled out in the contract or may be established by years of “past practice.” Either way, the company acknowledges the union’s role in dealing with workplace health and safety problems. The joint committee also gives the union a formal “window” to discuss the workers’ concerns. To be effective, the following are required:
• The committee needs to consist of equal numbers of labor
• The chairperson needs to rotate on a regular schedule. • The union needs to have a mechanism to check and
double-check the minutes to ensure that they accurately reflect the meeting.
• The union members need to be picked by the union, not by
the company. The union members of the joint committee should meet to discuss problems and strategies, to educate themselves, and to prepare for the joint committee meetings. The union members of the safety committee need to communicate routinely with the local officers and stewards. Effective committees meet on a regular basis. The meetings can be weekly, monthly, or less or more often, but they should be regular.
Activity 6: Health and Safety
2. Eyes, Ears and Voices
Because the joint labor-management committee should be relatively small, let’s say three members of labor and three members of management, the union will need a union committee structure that is representative of the facility. The union committee should have representatives from all major departments, shifts, and work groups. A committee of two or three members will not be able to adequately represent a large facility. This is not a new problem. The local president or group chairperson has stewards throughout the facility to help enforce the contract. This structure can be adapted for the safety committee. The local union can appoint safety stewards to function as the eyes, ears and voice of the union’s safety committee. A Proposed Facility Structure:
Local Executive Board
Safety Committee Chairperson and Union Members of the Joint Committee
Maintenance 1st Shift
Operators D Shift
• Send committee persons to classes given in local area colleges and technical colleges. • Work with management to have access to their materials. but it’s most important that the local union support the decisions and concerns of the union safety committee. Knowledge invested in the union’s safety committee will reap rewards in the form of a safer and healthier workplace. • Subscribe to safety magazines and/or newsletters. 113 . An informed safety committee can fulfill its role better in the joint labor-management committee. • Build a local union health and safety library (the Interna tional Union has a list of recommended books. Also see the Appendix for such a list.). Investment can be money and time. • Join a COSH group (see Appendix pages 3 and 4 for a list of COSH groups). arrange for a union safety committee chairperson to have sufficient time for health and safety activites. The local union will need to educate the members of the union’s safety committee about areas of expertise. for example. health and safety concerns will need the full backing and moral support of the local union. Simply put.Activity 6: Health and Safety 3. Investment in the committee is essential to the education of the safety committee. health and safety concepts. At times. information is power. • Use the Alice Hamilton Library (PACE Headquarters). legal duties under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). and OSHA standards. No Free Lunch The local union will need to invest in its safety committee if it is to function properly. Some ideas for investment: • Through collective bargaining.
These are called pitfalls because they drain a committee of its energy and make workers in the facility think of the committee as a waste of time. the committee will lose its effectiveness. The joint committee meetings are times to discuss problems. and always makes the recommendations.Activity 6: Health and Safety 4. An Effective Joint Committee To be effective. That means rotating chairpersons between labor and management. but they should be done routinely. to review industrial hygiene data.). The List-Making Process This is also called the broken ladder committee. not saved for committee meetings. Repairs are important. If a committee’s meetings usually deal with lists of maintenance jobs (repairs. and discussions or arguments over which were completed and which were not. company policies. 114 . the joint committee has to involve the workforce. The purpose of the committee meeting is not to list repairs. Common Pitfalls Safety committees often fail or are steered into pitfalls. and allowing enough time for all problems to be discussed. test results and investment in equipment. 2. Workers must be involved beyond just listening and receiving the company’s opinion. that committee is probably not doing much more than keeping the maintenance department busy. allowing the union to have input on all discussions. The Company-Dominated Committee If the local has a joint labor-management committee. 3. etc. allowing for review and joint control over the minutes of the meeting. 1. always chairs the meetings. allowing the union to have their issues placed on the agenda. not dominated by one side. accidents and near misses. it should be truly “joint” and cooperative. If the company’s side always sets the agenda.
Select priority concerns. the committee might be very interested in benzene exposures. 2. Reach out to the membership.Activity 6: Health and Safety 5. The committee needs to represent the membership. The committee will need to have an “overview” of the membership’s concerns. The membership’s concerns should be placed first. continued 115 . 1. Road Map for Health & Safety Committees The primary purpose of an effective health and safety committee is to improve the work environment. There are several elements to this process. This can only be done by actively seeking their input and concerns. Develop a list of health and safety problems. the committee will need to think of this activity as an ongoing process. This can be one of the most difficult tasks facing a safety and health committee. To accomplish this. while the membership is interested in an improved lock-out/tag-out procedure. Membership may not be concerned with the same issues that the health and safety committee would tackle first. 3. This is best accomplished by putting the members’ concerns down on paper. For instance.
The health and safety committee will need to build. address the ones that you feel will be solved easily.Activity 6: Health and Safety 5. 6. From the concerns of the members. It is essential that the safety committee have the backing of the membership. this credibility from the membership by dealing with the members’ concerns. such as the reduction of exposure to benzene and other cancer-causing substances. Deal with the priority issues first. Build your committee on small incremental changes to begin with. the cancer concern from benzene exposure may have to wait for the committee to “deliver” an improved lock-out/tag-out procedure. Win some changes. (continued) 4. Build toward larger and more comprehensive changes. The union’s safety committee persons need to be credible in the eyes of the membership and management to be effective. As the committee gains credibility with the membership. A health and safety committee should attempt to solve small or easy problems first before they attempt to make major changes. This enhanced credibility will allow the committee to tackle more difficult issues. 116 . To have credibility with the membership. Credibility from management will come later. tougher issues can be solved. or earn. From small beginnings. its credibility will grow from management’s point of view. 5.
However. everyone will not make the same commitment. Start with issues and goals that the work group feels comfortable with. there are many levels of activity and there are many different ways for people to participate in solving problems around the facility. • A work group with no experience sticking together to affect improvements in the health and safety of the facility may not be ready to tackle a major issue with dramatic action. The job of a health and safety committee is to find the tasks and activities suited to the present situation and to increase the level of activity as the work group’s experience. knowledge and commitment grow. But they may be willing to work together in a smaller way to solve a safety concern that bothers all of them.Activity 6: Health and Safety 6. we need all the help we can get from fellow workers. The point is. 117 . • The individual worker who cannot commit him.or herself in a big way may be willing to help out in some small task. Understanding Levels of Activity In order to solve problems on the job.
not your own or others’ agendas. This can be simple or more complicated.Activity 6: Health and Safety 7. Two key points are to: • pick a problem the membership is concerned about. or at a special meeting to have a free and open discussion about the health and safety problems we face. It is very important to get everyone’s ideas out and to get everyone involved in giving the health and safety committee direction. Once in a while. show how it can be solved. Here it’s important to keep the membership informed and to involve as many people as possible. at someone’s home. 118 . Step 3. Evaluate your activity on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to share responsibility. Step 4. and • start small or with an issue you can solve. Deal with the membership’s concerns. and why. document the problem. You can‘t solve every problem at once. Select a problem to face first. The committee needs to concentrate on one or two problems. Step 2. A health and safety committee will only learn by doing and then discussing what worked. what didn’t. the committee will have to relay the members’ concern. Sometimes just bringing a safety matter to management’s attention will do the trick. There is no substitute for getting people together either at lunch. and bring in experts to back up the committee’s recommendations. Develop a plan of action. the committee will need to use legal routes to alleviate health and safety concerns (this should be a last resort). For some issues. Small group discussions. Health and Safety Problem-Solving Step 1.
119 . after work. Ask each person what they think about the issue. where they work. Agree on follow-up plans and how to carry them out. This can be a simple note to yourself jotted down on paper. and something about the health or safety issue you want to discuss. You may have information to share. • When starting the meeting. Don’t assume that they do. • Let people know why you want to meet. Let them know you need their input. Tips on Small Group Meetings at Work • Choose a comfortable. explain what the meeting is about. briefly and clearly. • Organize the meeting so that there is “give and take”–two-way communication. Go around and have everyone introduce themselves. • When the meeting is over. Remind them of the time and place. convenient social setting–lunch time. sum up and review the main points. • Have an agenda–a plan for your meeting. but make sure part of the meeting is devoted to getting feedback from the members. etc.Activity 6: Health and Safety 8. • Make sure the discussion moves around and includes everyone. • Make sure everybody knows everybody.
and laws governing them. health effects. Information Is Power Health and safety committees need to be informed in order to function. • Alice Hamilton Library (PACE Headquarters) • International Union’s Health and Safety Department • COSH groups (see Appendix page 3 and 4 for a list of COSH groups) • Poison Centers • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (1-800-35NIOSH) • OSHA (see your phone book for your area office or refer to the Appendix for list of OSHA Area Offices) • Company work rules and policies. etc. Often this involves having access to resources to help in finding and interpreting the information. Knowledge of the laws. Listed below are some examples of information resources. 120 . and health and safety. the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) will give credibility to the committee. for example. and keep your own notes at all meetings. such as those regarding confined space entry. • OSHA’s General Industry Standards • Local universities with a public health department Know your collective bargaining agreement.Activity 6: Health and Safety 9. and consensus standards relating to exposure. chemicals or compounds.
Communication is essential if the committee wants all workers to think about health and safety and to be aware that the committee is doing its job. and to earn their respect. The committee should establish a continuous education program to inform everyone about workplace hazards. and it gives the committee plenty of information. The surest way to involve the whole local. This can be done quite easily with a simple survey form. This requires communication and education. Communicate and educate. Let them tell you what the health and safety problems are. or article in the union’s newsletter continued 121 . An effective committee will only be limited by its imagination and energy. open to all workers • A health and safety newsletter. All workers should be educated about the hazards of the job. Some ways to communicate about health and safety items are: • Reports at union meetings • Leaflets or bulletins passed out to all workers • Posters on the bulletin board • Classes conducted by outside health and safety experts.Activity 6: Health and Safety 10. 1. and will most likely come up with activities not listed in this manual. the committee needs to have the support of the people who work in the facility. In this section. 2. is to ask for their help. we’ll briefly discuss some activities that can be part of a committee’s “active” approach to health and safety problems. Health and Safety Committee Activities There is no set list of activities for a good health and safety committee. In order to get good results from a health and safety program. Get information from the workers.
Review new machines and work procedures. (continued) 3. or. a series of illnesses will be the only clue indicating a health hazard. or new information received. and meets accepted standards.Activity 6: Health and Safety 10. Any good committee will constantly propose changes in work procedures. the installation of better ventilation. Every union has the right to a list of all hazardous substances at use in the workplace. its chances for success are increased. Many times. etc. and to discuss ways to limit the exposure to these substances. Make sure the committee has a regularly updated list. 122 . The committee will need facts to make changes. These changes may be anything: a request for a new roof on a loading dock. and propose changes. isn’t excessively noisy. But. 5. The committee should review new machinery to ensure it’s properly guarded. there’s usually reluctance to make the change. and that all information about the dangers of the substances is available to the committee and to the workers. A good activity for committee meetings might be to set aside some time each month to go over two or three hazardous substances in detail. It’s crucial that the committee have data about workers’ injuries and illnesses. Keep records. 4. based on workers’ complaints. after an injury has already occurred. and thus prevent injuries. if the committee has done its homework (educated the members. Keep lists of hazardous substances. listed the dangers of the present conditions). When these changes require the company to spend money. unfortunately. Sometimes these reviews can spot hazardous conditions before the machinery goes into operation. the removal of a dangerous solvent. listed the benefits of the change.
Activity 6: Health and Safety Noise levels should be monitored and recorded so that noisy areas can be pinpointed and dealt with. like banning the use of carbon tetrachloride. But a smart committee will understand that it needs information in order to get a clear picture of the health and safety situation in the facility. Just ask for our help. 7. These can be used as a reference to seek information about hazardous substances. When new laws are passed. When the government changes its rules on certain substances.” Laws dealing with occupational safety and health are constantly changing and many times state laws differ from federal laws. The committee does not want to get bogged down in accident numbers and government reporting forms. continued 123 . If the company monitors for hazardous substances. the committee should discuss how these changes will be implemented in the workplace. The PACE health and safety department can help a local build a library by suggesting titles and good publications. the committee should discuss how it will be implemented. or as an educational tool to get information to the workers involved. films. Every committee should have one or two persons designated as “legal experts. 6. etc. such as the “Right to Know” law. Maintain a library or resource center. the committee should get the results and discuss them. a good committee will build up a library of books. that it can use. Keep posted on legal issues. pamphlets. Since information is so crucial to making changes. or changing the noise standard.
(continued) 8. 9. This might be done on a departmental basis. Conduct inspections. but a thorough investigation after the fact can at least determine the cause of an accident and prevent it from happening again. Investigate accidents. there’s really no limit to the topics a good committee can tackle. or on a facility-wide basis. and questions should be asked of the workers in the areas being inspected. changes should be made before an accident happens. For the inspections to be worthwhile. 124 . they should be complete. Obviously.Activity 6: Health and Safety 10. As you can see. should involve both union and company committee members.
3. their content. A window of communication with management is important. 2. Functions 1. This is the joint labor-management committee. It is important to choose a realistic issue as the “foot in the door” to build more effective committees.Activity 6: Health and Safety Summary: Health and Safety Committee A. a mechanism should be in place to develop the minutes. company safety professionals. for example. If they cannot be solved there. This information comes from the membership. 2. 3. A health and safety committee must be rooted on the shop floor. Local unions need to invest in the health and safety committees. Reach out to the membership. 5. Select priorities that reflect the membership’s concerns. just as you would grievances. Information is power. 4. Develop a list of health and safety concerns. through seminars. and you need to custom-craft your organization. The system should be broad enough to be representative of your facility. 6. Try to solve problems at the lowest possible level through the safety stewards. Road Map for Health & Safety Committees 1. A series of safety stewards should feed information to the union members on the joint committee. B . classes and company-paid lost-time. 3. Build toward larger and more comprehensive changes. 125 . Deal with priority items first. the International Union. 4. go to the joint committee. company policies. easier changes first. Make smaller. Organization 1. Each facility is different. and their distribution. etc. 2. If there are minutes. C.
Activity 6: Health and Safety 126 .
Evaluation Activity 6: Strengthening the Health & Safety Committee 1. Common Pitfalls 5. C3. A2. Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. C4. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. B3. A3. B2. Health & Safety Committee Activities 3. Eyes. C2. B4. No Free Lunch 4. C1. Health and Safety Problem-Solving 8. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. C5. Tips on Small Group Meetings at Work 9. 1. C6. Understanding Levels of Activity 7. Road Map for Health & Safety Committees 6. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? . 4. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2. Most Important Summary Point A1. Ears and Voices 3. B1. Information Is Power 10. Safety Committee Structure 2.
95) and its limitations. the OSHA Noise Standard (1910. and other solutions to the problem. 127 . This activity has two tasks.Activity 7: The Hazards of Noise Exposure Purpose To raise our awareness of the negative effects of noise.
Anyway. How would you respond? 128 . Statement “I know a lot of people are worried about the noise around here.Activity 7: Noise Task 1 Assume your group has been asked by the union health and safety committee at PharmChem to respond to a worker who made the following statement. Try to refer to at least one factsheet in making your response. I hate to say it but we have a lot of complainers around here. please review the factsheets on pages 129 through 138. but after a couple of hours I’m fine. Sure my ears ring a little after work. many of us have bigger problems to worry about. but I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. My doctor is more worried about my tendency for high blood pressure than he is about my ears. In doing so.” 1. Lots of people are uptight and need to learn how to modify their lifestyle to relax.
• Co-workers who are hard of hearing. dulled or muffled hearing that disappears after 14 hours. dizziness or other health conditions related to stress (for example. etc. • After leaving work. Berkeley: University of California. Not Just a Nuisance. • Ringing in the ears after leaving the work area. Sources: Labor Occupational Health Program. If you suspect that there is a noise problem. 129 . It’s your legal right. .). fatigue. etc. 1981. Noise. • The need to shout to make ourselves heard more than an arm’s length away. . 46 FR 4078. (It’s hard to hear normal conversation. and Federal Register. January 16. radio.Activity 7: Noise 1.) • Headaches. 1990. University of California at Berkeley. demand that management conduct a noise survey. TV. How To Tell If There Is a Noise Problem at Work Some common indications of overexposure to noise at work are: • Difficulty hearing normal speech in the work area. high blood pressure. A Hazard.
Sources: United Auto Workers. Early Warning Signs of Hearing Loss First Warning The first warning sign of hearing loss is often the inability to hear high frequency sounds. and distinguishing between simple words like fifteen and sixteen may prove difficult. January 16. Detroit: UAW. Most of the sound energy of speech is in the vowel sounds (which are low frequency sounds). Damage in the high frequency area results in a person having difficulties in the perception of speech. The more damage that occurs in the high range. 130 . A sound like the letter “s” will not be heard. State of California. June 1985. but a low frequency sound like the letter “o” will be heard. the less able a person will be to hear the consonant sounds in speech. 46 FR 4078. Damage Spreads Continued exposure to excessive noise causes the damage to spread to the frequency range between 500 Hz and 6. Department of Industrial Relations. Other Signs • Failure to catch words or phrases. The loss usually appears first and most severely around 4. Coastal Video Communications Corporation. 1978. but consonants (which are high frequency sounds) help make speech understandable. Virginia Beach: CVC. Noise Control. CAL/OSHA Communications. causing loss of sensitivity. At first.Activity 7: Noise 2. you won’t be able to understand what people are saying even though you can hear that they are talking. 1981. there is trouble hearing plurals. Federal Register. • Shouting or raising the voice without realizing it.000 Hz. • Ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. 1992. Words may sound like grunts. Hearing Protection: A Sound Practice.000 Hz. Noise Control. the approximate frequency of a birdsong or a voice on the telephone. Finally.
the eardrum itself begins to vibrate. Washington. 1992. Hearing Protection: A Sound Practice. 1978. the hair cells will be permanently damaged. bent out of shape. A series of bones transmit the vibrations to an organ in the inner ear called the cochlea. the hair cells can bounce back. If there is continual exposure to excessive noise. United Auto Workers. The cochlea has thousands of tiny hair cells which change the vibrations into nerve impulses which are sent to the brain and the rest of the body.S. and completely missing as a result of noise. 1980. Outer Ear Middle Ear Inner Ear Cochlea Nerve Fibers Cochlea Eardrum Ear Canal Hairs Too much noise will wear out the hair cells. The result is loss of hearing. When sound vibrations hit the outer ear. Photographs taken through an electron microscope show the hair cells broken. A Guide for Workers and Employers. Noise Damages the Ear and Hearing Exposure to excessive noise can damage the ear and destroy the ability to hear. Department of Labor. Virginia Beach: CVC. Noise Control. Noise Control. If the exposure to excessive noise is stopped in time. Detroit: UAW. Healthy Hair Cells Damaged Hair Cells 131 .Activity 7: Noise 3. and Coastal Video Communications Corporation. Source: U. DC: OSHA 3048.
Such continued stress actually begins to wear us out. continued 132 . workers who are constantly exposed to high levels of noise suffer a continual fight or flight type reaction that puts them into a stress response every day. The human body reacts to such a threat by preparing either to flee or to fight in the following ways.Activity 7: Noise 4. One response we all have is the fight or flight reaction. • Heart rate increases. Noise-Induced Stress Fight or Flight Fight or flight is a particular reaction to frightening or stressful circumstances. • Adrenalin and other hormones are released. A good example is a close brush with a life-threatening accident. • Blood pressure rises. the body goes back to normal. and • Muscles constrict throughout the body. Excessive Noise Triggers Fight or Flight Reactions Our bodies are not designed to withstand continued fight or flight reactions. and if we are still alive and well. According to OSHA and a variety of studies. Once the danger passes.
Activity 7: Noise That kind of continual stress means trouble for our bodies. 1981. DC: OSHA 3048. A Guide for Workers and Employers. “Guidelines for the Control of Noise at Work. 46 FR 4078. September 1983. Noise Control. in addition to hearing damage.S. January 16. Washington. such as hypertension.” Health and Safety Bulletin (of the ACTU). ulcers and neurological disorders.”* dilation of the pupil secretion of thyroid hormone heart palpitations movements of the stomach and intestines secretion of adrenalin secretion of adrenalin cortex hormone muscle reaction constriction of the blood vessels The diagram above summarizes the variety of ways that excessive noise affects our bodies. Sources: U. * Federal Register. 1981. 46 FR 4078. January 16. 1980. Federal Register. As OSHA states: “Laboratory and field studies implicate noise as a causative factor in stress-related illnesses. and Australian Council of Trade Unions. 133 . Department of Labor.
134 .Activity 7: Noise 5. 62 percent of the workers continually exposed to 90 decibels (dB) noise suffered circulatory problems. 46 FR 4078. compared to 48 percent of the workers in lower noise areas. German Study 70 P e r c e n t o f W o r k e r s 60 62% 50 40 30 20 10 0 Chronically Exposed to 90 dB Exposed to Lower Levels 48% Source: Federal Register. January 16. According to the study. The chart below summarizes the result of an often-cited German study of steel and iron workers. Percentage of Workers with Circulatory Problems.” What the studies do is compare one group of workers who are in high noise areas to similar workers (the control group) who work in lower noise areas. Noise-Induced Stress = Bad News for Heart and Circulation Numerous studies point to the dangerous effects of noise-induced stress on the heart and the circulatory system. 1981. OSHA cites specific studies of workers that demonstrate “significant differences in the number of cardiovascular and circulation disorders as well as other health problems.
This may increase the risk of developing cancer. 135 . Sources: Federal Register.” Health and Safety Bulletin (of the ACTU). January 16. This may lead to ulcers. the NIOSH studies found evidence of the following disorders: • digestive • respiratory • allergenic • musculo-skeleton “Over a period of 5 years. In addition to cardiovascular effects. • Liver Damage: Changes in liver metabolism which can diminish the liver’s ability to detoxify cancer-causing substances that get into the body. Additional Harmful Impacts of Noise NIOSH Studies Show Variety of Harmful Effects The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted many studies on the impact of noise. January 16. 1981. the number of diagnosed disorders in every category was significantly higher for workers exposed to high noise levels than it was for those exposed to lower noise levels. • Birth Defects: Animal studies demonstrate an association between noise exposure and reduced fetal weight and increased incidence of malformation of offspring.Activity 7: Noise 6. “Guidelines for the Control of Noise at Work.”* Australian Union Study Shows Additional Harm • Ulcers: Increases the secretion of acid in the stomach as well as steroids that diminish the resistance of the stomach lining to the acid. 46 FR 4078. 46 FR 4078. and Australian Council of Trade Unions. *Federal Register. 1981. September 1983.
September 1983. 46 FR 4078. The sum of the combined effect problem was greater than the sum of the two noises taken individually. • Noise and heat are suspected to have a synergistic effect.Activity 7: Noise 7. This is what happened in a study reported by OSHA when two kinds of noise combined. producing a synergistic effect. which is greater than the sum of their individual effects. January 16. Synergistic Effects: Two Kinds of Noise = Bigger Problem When two problems combine to form a problem that is bigger or different from the sum of the two original problems. and Federal Register. a synergistic effect is at work. According to OSHA.” Health and Safety Bulletin (of the ACTU). Sources: Australian Council of Trade Unions. 1983. These include: • carbon monoxide • carbon disulfide • trichloroethylene The drug Streptomycin also has a well-known side effect that harms hearing. • Noise and vibration can also have a damaging effect on hearing. • OSHA reported that the impulsive noise (like a punch press) combined with a continuous noise (like a vent fan). “Guidelines for the Control of Noise at Work. 136 . “hearing loss was exacerbated” and considerably more damage was found than would be expected from just continuous noise. according to the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Chemicals and Pharmacological Agents Can Harm Hearing Too According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certain substances can actually injure the inner ear leading to deafness.
1986.” Health and Safety Bulletin (of the ACTU). under certain conditions. Issue 2. • Increased blood pressure and respiration and diminished mental capacity at noise levels of 60 or 70 dB.” Government Reports. • Diminished ability to perform intellectual tasks when noise level reaches 80 dB. 137 . and Australian Council of Trade Unions. A Survey of Findings in the European Literature. 46 FR 4078. unexpected or uncontrollable noise below the action levels (85 dB and 90 dB) may affect job performance. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Sources: Federal Register. Announcements and Index.Activity 7: Noise 8. • Noise has a cumulative effect especially for workers who are exposed to noise during non-working hours. Workers who live in urban settings or near airports. 1981. intermittent. highways or industrial facilities may be stressed 24 hours a day. September 1983. “Noise as an Occupational Hazard: Effects on Performance Level and Health. • High frequency. • Fatigue and annoyance at low levels and difficulties in maintaining equilibrium or balance. be hazardous to workers’ health. “Guidelines for the Control of Noise at Work. January 16. Even Low Levels of Noise May Be Hazardous Studies have shown other possible effects of noise. • Evidence that even sounds which cannot be heard (ultrasound) can.
” Journal of Occupational Medicine. For example. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers. The study pointed out that “many of these workers . It is not difficult to imagine large and small accidents that can occur from the inability to use our sense of hearing due to working in a noisy environment and wearing hearing protection devices. **K.S. or the malfunction of equipment. similarly found that workers in high noise areas have trouble with warning signals. 7. 1981.”* Danger from Failure To Hear Warnings Several other studies. . 138 . Washington. July 1983. a study of fatalities in the railroad industry showed that most workers who died were unaware of the approach of the trains or equipment that struck them.”** *Federal Register. and U.Activity 7: Noise 9. Sources: Australian Council of Trade Unions. “Hearing Protectors: A Review of Recent Observations. the odds of an accident happening increase. 1980. Danger from Moving Equipment This is obviously a major problem when working around vehicles of any kind. a collision or accident could occur if someone doesn’t hear the call to get out of the way. Vol. Noise and Physical Safety There is yet another reason why it is better to control noise problems at the source through engineering controls. No. “Guidelines for the Control of Noise at Work. And if we are working without our full hearing. were under exposure to a high level of noise. In crowded facilities we could find ourselves bumping into each other or tripping because we couldn’t hear a warning.W. Riko and P. “Many workers reported concerns that they would not hear warning signals or hear vital sounds signaling danger. Department of Labor. DC: OSHA 3048. 25. September 1983. For example.” Health and Safety Bulletin (of the ACTU). . January 16. Alberti. If the facility is noisy or if we are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as ear plugs and ear muffs we have limited hearing or no hearing at all. as reported by OSHA and the Journal of Occupational Medicine. 46 FR 4078.
what should the union ask the company to do about the noise situation at PharmChem? 139 . we have checked and rechecked the noise levels at this facility. free of charge. In your opinion. the company will provide a hearing test. Also. PharmChem is not required to reduce these levels. In doing so please review the factsheets on pages 140 through 152 and answer the questions which follow below. out of concern for our workers. now you need to do yours. The results show that there has been a slight rise in the time-weighted decibel level from 84 dB to 87 dB. we will issue each of you a set of ear plugs or ear muffs. What are your agreements with this report? 2. What are your disagreements? 3. However. It’s up to you to wear your personal protective equipment for your ears. We are doing our part. PharmChem Report on Noise “As a result of the concerns of our workers regarding noise levels here. By law.” 1. to anyone who wants one.Activity 7: Noise Task 2 Assume your group has been asked by the union health and safety committee to analyze and respond to the following report issued by management concerning the noise issue at PharmChem.
000. A jet engine can produce one hundred thousand watts (100. For example.0000001 0. Sources: U. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers. Virginia Beach: CVC. Detroit: UAW. How Loud Is Loud? Decibels (dB) measure the loudness of the noise. DC: OSHA 3048. 140 . Coastal Video Communications Corporation.00000001 0.01 0.000001 0. Washington.000.0001 0.S. using multiplication rather than addition. Noise Control: A Workers Manual.001 watt) of sound power.000 1. hardened tools Pneumatic hammer Pneumatic drill Shouting to be heard a few feet away Sound Power in Decibels 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Sound Power in Watts 100. 1980. When decibels go up by 3.Activity 7: Noise 10.000 100 10 1 0.00001 0. United Auto Workers. 93 dB is twice as loud as 90 dB and 90 dB is 10 times louder than 80 dB.000000001 Voice.1 0. loudness doubles. normal conversation Very soft whisper Threshold of hearing The critical decibel range where painless hearing damage can occur is between the 85 dB to 125 dB exposure levels. A very soft whisper generates about one billionth of a watt (0. August 1978.001 0. This shorthand scale is used because of the tremendous range in power between quiet sound and noisy sound. Department of Labor. Noise Levels Noise Source Jet engine Riveting on steel tank Cutting machine. Hearing Protection: A Sound Practice. This measure is based on a mathematical shorthand. 1992.000 10. Noise is a form of energy which can also be measured in watts.000 watts) of sound power.
Department of Labor. The disturbing effects of noise depend both on the loudness (intensity) and the pitch of the tones. especially around 4000 Hz. the higher the frequency. What’s Low In addition to knowing how loud noise is. Hertz 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 trombone truck too low pitch to be heard piccolo compressed air noise speech too high pitch to be heard At the same intensity. The higher the number of hertz. Melvin A. it is important in controlling noise to know the frequency (or pitch) of noise. What’s High. the noise from the truck is less disturbing than the noise from the compressed air jet because the truck noise is at a lower frequency. Noise causes hearing to be lost first in the upper frequencies. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz). single frequencies (pure tones) can be somewhat more harmful to hearing than broad band noise. Also. 141 . Frequency is measured both when analyzing the noise of a machine and when measuring hearing loss.S. August 1978. Sources: Noise Control: A Workers Manual. A low frequency example is a large truck rumbling by. UAW Social Security Department. Glasser. 1980. An example of a high frequency noise is a compressed air jet in a plant. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers.Activity 7: Noise 11. Director. Higher frequency noise is generally more annoying than low frequency noise. OSHA 3084. United Auto Workers International Union. U.
95: One Standard. sometimes written as 90 dB(A).95 (a) and (b) The action level for this part is 90 decibels (dB) over a time-weighted average (A). Two Action Levels OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure Standard is broken down into two parts. Part 2: 1910. Source: Federal Register. 1983 and 46 FR 4078. January 16. 1981. 46 FR 9739.95 (c) through (p) – OSHA’s Hearing Conservation Program The action level for this section is 85 dB(A).Activity 7: Noise 12.” An action level is a measurement of noise that triggers some required action on the part of the employer. 142 . Part 1: 1910. OSHA’s 1910. March 8. Each section has a different “action level.
Examples of impulse and impact noises are the sharp outbursts of noise produced by noisy punch presses or pneumatic tools.95. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers. The chart below shows that there are shorter time limits for higher noise levels. Washington.Activity 7: Noise 13. employers are required to limit workers’ noise exposure to 90 decibels averaged (dB(A)) over an eight-hour period. OSHA Part 1: The 90 dB Action Level Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. every employer is legally responsible for providing a workplace free of hazards such as excessive noise. Source: U. Under OSHA regulation 1910. 1980.95 Hours of Exposure 8 6 4 3 2 11⁄2 1 1⁄ 2 1⁄ 4 Sound Level dB(A) 90 92 95 97 100 102 105 110 115 or less Impulse and Impact Noise Impulse and impact noise exposure should never exceed 140 dB at any time. Department of Labor.S. DC: OSHA 3048. Noise Exposure Limits Set by OSHA 1910. 143 .
if noise exposure rises above the levels set forth in Standard 1910. the employer must use “engineering controls” (changes in the physical work environment such as sound dampening measures on noisy machines) or “administrative controls” (such as limits on the individual employee’s exposure time) in order to comply with the law. 1980. DC: OSHA 3048. Source: U.” [Brackets added] OSHA Discourages Personal Protective Equipment OSHA does not recommend the use of personal protective devices as a permanent solution because • they may cause infection or discomfort.Activity 7: Noise OSHA Requires Engineering Controls According to OSHA.S.95. which can contribute to accidents. ear muffs] shall be provided and used to reduce sound levels within the OSHA prescribed levels. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers. Washington. Department of Labor. “If such controls fail to reduce sound levels within the prescribed levels then personal protective equipment [ear plugs. 144 . and • they may make conversation more difficult. • they may not work effectively due to poor fit.
The initial audiogram is the reference hearing test against which future tests will be compared. the employer must develop and implement a Hearing Conservation Program. It indicates whether a worker is losing his or her ability to hear. The test is designed to measure a person’s ability to hear noise at different frequencies and sound levels. Area monitoring. in which one sample of the entire work area is tested. OSHA says the employer must provide employees and employee representatives with an opportunity to observe the monitoring and they must be notified of the results of the test. is allowed (not individual worker’s exposure as was first proposed by OSHA). OSHA Part 2: The 85 dB Action Level (Hearing Conservation Program) Monitoring Is Required The employer must monitor facility noise levels to identify work areas where workers are exposed to 85 dB or more during an eight-hour shift (TWA). If the area monitoring indicates that any employee’s exposure may equal or exceed an eight-hour TWA (the action level) of 85 dB. Requirements of a Hearing Conservation Program • If the eight-hour exposure is found to be between 85 dB and 90 dB. Workers should ensure that any area monitoring is truly representative of the noise exposure in the area they are working in. • An initial (baseline) hearing test (audiogram) must be provided for all exposed workers. • The testing program must be administered by a professional audiologist or physician. then the employer must provide comfortable and effective personal protective equipment to all affected employees. 145 . • The employer also must provide a free annual hearing test for all workers exposed to noise levels of 85 dB or more.Activity 7: Noise 14.
000 Hz frequency in either ear. OSHA requires that all records of employees’ hearing tests be maintained for the length of employment and that area noise survey records be kept for two years. These workers must wear hearing protection after six months or until tested. Any employee identified as having a hearing loss must be notified in 21 days and be provided with comfortable and effective hearing protection which OSHA requires them to wear. March 8. the hearing exam should be given only after a worker has had at least 14 hours of quiet time. University of Maine. Scannell. 3. The mobile testing exception is a concession by OSHA to minimize expenses of the services to the employer. 46 FR 9738. 146 . Where a mobile testing service is used. 1983. Annual hearing tests must be compared with the previous one to determine if there has been a hearing loss of 10 dB or more at 2. September 1990.000. They must also be trained in the adverse effects of noise on both hearing and physical health. remarks by Gerard F. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Administration before the 38th Annual Institute in Occupational Hearing Loss. the employer may take up to a year. Employees have a right to their records.000 and 4. Noise and Its Effects. United Steel Workers of America. 1990. September 1985. the advantages and disadvantages of the various types and their fitting and care. A Practical Guide to Effective Hearing Conservation Programs in the Workplace. Sources: Federal Register. July 10. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. however. Workers must be trained annually in the use of hearing protection.Activity 7: Noise • Newly hired workers must be tested six months after they start work. • To ensure accuracy. Pittsburgh: USWA. and Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH) factsheet.
May 1993. Employers often provided medium-sized ear plugs without checking. on the presumption that it was the size that would fit most people.W. Alberti. Percentage of Workers in Study with Improper or Proper Ear Plugs 80 P e r c e n t o f W o r k e r s 60 70% 40 20 30% 0 Wrong Size Correct Size Source: K. Vol.Activity 7: Noise 15. It accounted for 78 percent of all occupational diseases in 1989.” Journal of Occupational Medicine. 1983.5 mm (millimeters) between the measured ear dimensions and the ear plug size can have a significant effect on the sound pressure level in the ear canal. it may be necessary to provide a differently-sized plug for each ear due to anatomical variation (size) between the two ears. Riko and P. Poor-Fitting Ear Plugs Provide Little Protection Noise-induced deafness has been the top industrial disease in Singapore for the last five years. Occupational Health and Safety. 147 . A difference of only 0. it does not provide an effective seal against the noise. it is uncomfortable. The effectiveness of ear plugs is partly dependent on the fit of ear plugs in the ear canal. “Hearing Protection: A Review of Recent Observations. July. 7. Also. No. A study of 317 exposed workers found that 70 percent had ear canals which were too large for the ear plug they were using. If it is too loose. If the ear plug is too tight. 25.
. 420 workers had their hearing tested while wearing one of the four different types of ear plugs. 46 FR 4078. 148 . February 6. 1984. Amount of Protection in dB Type Pre-formed plastic Acoustic wool Expandable foam Custom-molded The manufacturers claim their earplugs provide this much decibel reduction . News.S. gave relatively little protection. . The results were compared with the ear plug manufacturers’ claims. 1981. Pre-formed Acoustic Wool Expandable Custom-Molded Sources: The Federal Register. . 29 26 36 20 . but the NIOSH study found they only provide this much decibel reduction. 7 10 20 14 For example.E. None of the plugs provided the claimed percentage of effectiveness. Ear Plug Protection Factors Are Overstated OSHA’s Noise Standard 1910. ear plugs are less than half as effective as their manufacturers claim in protecting workers’ hearing. . A NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) study shows that as actually worn in the facility. Ear plugs of various types are probably the most widely used hearing protective devices in U.Activity 7: Noise 16. industry. “Earplugs Anyone?” U. which are widely used. January 16. The study also reveals some significant differences between types of ear plugs. the little pre-formed plastic plugs. In 15 different facilities. Wads of acoustic wool inserted into the ear canals provide more protection. and David Kotelchuck.95 requires workers exposed to certain high levels of noise to wear hearing protection.
and Scand Audiol.” Zeitschrift fur die Gesamte Hygiene und Ihre Grenzgebiete. Ear Muffs Offer Less Protection In fact.Activity 7: Noise 17.” Journal of Occupational Medicine. Ear Muffs Are Uncomfortable as Well A German study compared various hearing protection devices (ear plugs. “Hearing Protectors: A Review of Recent Observations. Vol. July 1983. even though the “attenuation” factor (noise reduction factor) was higher for ear muffs than for the plugs. 7. therefore providing the best protection between the two for long-term use. In Sweden. a select group of shipyard workers were tested. Ear Muffs: Over-Rated and Uncomfortable In a study conducted in Canada. 2. Plastic plugs were rated over ear muffs as being more comfortable to wear. “Comparative Studies of the Noise Reducing Capability and the Wearing Comfort of Hearing Protection in the Workplace. Alberti. as do ear plug manufacturers. No. Coden: SNADA. • Working loose over time. side burns or hair.W. • Improper fitting. No. scientists found that ear muff manufacturers. 1980. G.. ear muffs may provide less protection than ear plugs. Some possible reasons for the lack of protection and comfort provided by ear muffs are attributed to: • Certain head shapes which cannot be fitted by any available muff. The Difference in Protection Efficiency Between Ear Plugs and Ear Muffs: An Investigation Performed at a Workplace. Vol. Riko and P. and • Wearing out. The study showed that there was a greater hearing impairment among the workers who used ear muffs than those who used plugs. Each had worked in a similar high noise environment for five to ten years and had used either ear muffs or ear plugs for protection. Significant differences were found in the degree of comfort between the devices tested. ear muffs) to determine which were the most comfortable to wear. 29. 1983. 25. • The seals being broken by eyeglasses. Sources: K. et al. dangerously overstate the protection factor of their product. Schultz. 149 .
• isolation. Examples • Sound absorbing ceiling and wall coverings in noisy areas where workers must spend time. • Selection of belt conveyers which generally are quieter than roller conveyers. The most effective controls are engineering controls which. • Design of ventilation ducts with fan inlet mufflers and other mufflers to prevent noise transfer in the ducts. are the least expensive alternatives (1⁄5 to almost 1⁄2 of the investment that would be required to retrofit later). • Replacement of metal parts with quieter plastic parts. • Reduction of the dropping height of goods being collected in bins and boxes.Activity 7: Noise 18. • Enclosure of especially noisy machine parts in a soundabsorbent structure. Existing equipment and structures can also be adapted so as to limit harmful noise. Engineering controls include: • barriers. • noise absorption. • variations in force. Controlling Noise at Its Source Experts agree (and OSHA mandates at 90 dB) that the best way to protect workers from damaging sound is to control noise at its source. • muffling. pressure or driving speed as well as other solutions. if introduced at the time a building or piece of machinery is being designed or installed. continued 150 . • damping.
and United Auto Workers.Activity 7: Noise 18. Detroit: UAW. with stripping noisy equipment in basement sound insulating joints placement of heavy. Washington. Noise Control: A Guide for Workers and Employers. (continued) Examples of Engineering Controls sound-absorbing material beneath ceiling air intake muffler sound shield. Department of Industrial Relations. absorbing flexible pipe control room door with sealing strips vibration isolation double glass with large interval between.S. June 1987. DC: OSHA 3048. Department of Labor. Controlling Noise at Its Source Can Help Protect Workers’ Hearing. State of California. 1980. June 1985. vibrating equipment on separate plates with pillars Source: U. 151 . Noise Control. August 1978. Noise Control: A Workers Manual. OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. CAL/OSHA Communications.
The Council of European Communities The European Commission is proposing to the Council an action level of 80 dB. Noise Control: A Workers Manual. London: LHC.Activity 7: Noise 19. 1992. calling it a feasible standard. Protecting the Community: A Workers Guide to Health and Safety in Europe. The Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified 75 dB as a safe action level for workplace exposure to hazardous noise. Sources: London Hazards Center. reversing the current dangerous 90 dB(A) level. 1978. Detroit: UAW. OSHA’s 90 dB Action Level Is Not the Safest Standard Many experts believe that OSHA’s 90 dB action level is not strict enough and have proposed a lower standard. The United Auto Workers The United Auto Workers (UAW) has lobbied for an 85 dB action level. and United Auto Workers. 152 .
4. An early sign of hearing loss is the inability to understand normal speech. as well as heat. 3. Some low level noise may also be harmful. 7. OSHA requires that engineering controls or administrative controls be installed at the “90 dB(A) action level.” 8. 6. Ninety-three dB is twice as loud as 90 dB. resulting in hearing loss. 2.Activity 7: Noise Summary: Noise Exposure 1.” 153 . Excessive levels of hazardous noise can cause physical damage to the inner ear which is irreversible. 5. Noise can cause a severe stress reaction (fight or flight) in our bodies which can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. vibration and different types of noise. Workers have a legal right to a safe work environment free of the hazards of dangerous noise exposure. Ninety dB is ten times louder than 80 dB. Some chemicals and pharmacological agents. Employers are required to monitor exposure levels if a noise hazard is suspected to exist. OSHA requires that a hearing conservation program be instituted at the “85 dB(A) action level. can combine (synergistically) to cause a more serious threat to our hearing and health.
154 .Activity 7: Noise 9. Hearing protectors’ (ear plugs. 10. 11. Many experts believe that OSHA’s 90 dB(A) action level is too high and recommend lower levels. muffs) safety factors are dangerously overstated by their manufacturers. An active Worker Health and Safety Committee is the best way to insure and secure protective measures against the hazards of noise exposure. Ear plugs and muffs should be the last line of defense against the hazards of noise.
Chemicals and Pharmacological Agents Can Harm Hearing Too 8. Ear Plug Protection Factors Are Overstated 17. Two Action Levels 13. Controlling Noise at Its Source 19. Ear Muffs: Overated and Uncomfortable 18. Additional Harmful Impacts of Noise 7. How Loud Is Loud? 11. OSHA Part 2: The 85 dB Action Level 15. How important is this Activity for the workers at your facility? Please circle one number. Noise Damages the Ear and Hearing 4. OSHA’s 90 dB Action Level Is Not the Safest Standard continued . Noise-Induced Stress 5.Evaluation Activity 7: The Hazards of Noise Exposure 1. What’s High. How to Tell If There’s a Noise Problem at Work 2. Early Warning Signs of Hearing Loss 3. Please put an “X” by the one factsheet you feel is the most important. What’s Low 12. Activity Is Not Important 1 2 3 4 Activity Is Very Important 5 2.95: One Standard. Noise-Induced Stress = Bad News for Heart and Circulation 6. OSHA Part 1: The 90 dB Action Level 14. Poor-Fitting Ear Plugs Provide Little Protection 16. OSHA’s 1910. Even Low Levels of Noise May Be Hazardous 9. 1. Noise and Physical Safety 10.
Most Important Summary Point 1. 4. 2. 11. 4. 9. 3.3. 6. What would you suggest be done to improve this Activity? . Which summary point do you feel is most important? Please circle one number. 10. 7. 5. 8.
Activity 8: Evaluating the Workshop
To evaluate the OCAW Worker-to-Worker health and safety training workshop that we have just completed and to spend some time talking about where we go from here.
Working together with the other members of your group, answer the following questions. 1. In your group, make a list describing the most important things you learned during this workshop.
2. Given your own experience and the things you have learned in this workshop, what are the health and safety problems at your worksite that need to be addressed right away? (Use an additional sheet if necessary.)
3. How would you rate the workbook’s readability? Too hard Just right Too easy
4. What health and safety topics would you like to learn more about?
5. Of all the activities, which was your favorite? Why?
References and Resources
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .References and Resources COSH Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A-12 Union Health and Safety Library . . . . . A-16 A-2 . . . . . . . . A-5 NIOSH Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A-11 Labor Education Centers . . . . A-13 Glossary of Terms . A-3 OSHA Offices . . .
NY 14701 (716) 488-0720 Illinois CACOSH (Chicago COSH) 37 South Ashland Chicago. S. Second Street Jamestown. CA 94105 (415) 543-2699/Fax: (415) 433-5077 LACOSH (Los Angeles COSH) 5855 Venice Blvd. 103 Anchorage.Appendix: COSH Groups COSH Groups* (No health and safety activist should be without one. Northern Lights Blvd. MA 01103 (413) 731-0750/Fax: (413) 732-1881 Michigan SEMCOSH (Southeast Michigan COSH) 2727 Second Street Detroit. MA 02130 (617) 524-6686/Fax: (617) 524-3508 Western MassCOSH 458 Bridge Street Springfield. CA 95820 (916) 442-4390/Fax: (916) 446-3057 SCCOSH (Santa Clara COSH) 760 North 1st Street San Jose. AK 99517 (907) 276-2864/Fax: (907) 279-3039 Maine Maine Labor Group on Health. IL 60607 (312) 666-1611/Fax: (312) 243-0492 * As of 1994 continued A-3 . Washington.E. MN 5421 (612) 572-6997/Fax: (612) 572-9826 Connecticut ConnectiCOSH (Connecticut COSH) 32 Grand Street Hartford. Local 522 3101 Stockton Boulevard Sacramento. Naval System Division 4800 East River Road Minneapolis. DC 20003 (202) 543-0005 (DC)/(301) 731-8530 (MD) Fax: (202) 546-2331/(301) 731-4142 New York ALCOSH (Allegheny COSH) 100 E. NH 03275 (603) 226-0516/Fax: (613) 225-7294 District of Columbia Alice Hamilton Occupational Health Center 410 Seventh Street. ME 04330 (207) 622-7823/Fax: (207) 622-3483 California San Francisco Labor Council Fran Schrieberg-c/o Worksafe 660 Howard Street. CT 06106 (203) 549-1877/Fax: (203) 728-0287 New Hampshire NHCOSH c/o NH AFL-CIO 110 Sheep Davis Road Pembroke.. Box V Augusta. Inc. 3rd Floor San Francisco. MI 48206 (313) 961-3345/Fax: (313) 961-3588 Minnesota MN-COSH c/o Lyle Krych M330 FMC Corp. Ste. Los Angeles. CA 90019 (213) 931-9000/Fax: (213) 931-2255 SACOSH (Sacramento COSH) c/o Fire Fighters. CA 95112 (408) 998-4050/Fax: (418) 998-4051 Massachusetts MassCOSH (Massachusetts COSH) 555 Amory Street Boston.) Alaska Alaska Health Project 1818 W.
Box 2514 Durham. #4 Rochester.Appendix: COSH Groups COSH Groups (continued) New York (continued) CNYCOSH (Central New York COSH) 615 W. Ontario N9A 4N1 CANADA (519) 254-5157/Fax: (519) 254-4192 A-4 . NY 10001 (212) 627-3900/Fax: (212) 627-9812 (914) 939-5612 (Lower Hudson) (516) 273-1234 (Long Island) ROCOSH (Rochester COSH) 797 Elmwood Avenue. Schenectady. Genessee Street Syracuse. NY 12305 (518) 374-4308/Fax: (518) 393-3040 NYCOSH (New York COSH) 275 Seventh Avenue. Suite 438 Buffalo. Seattle. WI 53233 (414) 933-2338 Oregon c/o Dick Edgington ICWU-Portland 7440 SW 87 Street Portland. WA 98108 (206) 443-4721/Fax: (206) 762-6433 North Carolina NCOSH (North Carolina COSH) P. NC 27715 (919) 286-9249/Fax: (919) 286-4857 Wisconsin WisCOSH (Wisconsin COSH) 734 North 26 Street Milwaukee.O. RI 02903 (401) 751-2015/Fax: (401) 751-7520 Tennessee TNCOSH (Tennessee COSH) 309 Whitecest Drive Maryville. ENYCOSH (Eastern New York COSH) c/o Larry Rafferty 121 Erie Blvd. OR 07223 (513) 244-8429 CANADA Ontario WOSH (Windsor OSH) 547 Victoria Avenue Windsor. NY 14620 (716) 244-0420 WNYCOSH (Western New York COSH) 2495 Main Street. TN 37801 (615) 983-7864 Texas TexCOSH (Texas COSH) c/o Karyl Dunson 5735 Regina Beaumont. Marginal Way S. PA 19104 (215) 386-7000/Fax: (215) 386-3529 Rhode Island RICOSH (Rhode Island COSH) 741 Westminster Street Providence. TX 77706 (409) 898-1427 Washington WashCOSH 6770 E. 8th Floor New York. 5th Floor Philadelphia. NY 14214 (716) 833-5416/Fax: (716) 833-7507 Pennsylvania PhilaPOSH (Philadelphia Project OSH) 3001 Walnut Street. NY 13204 (315) 471-6187/Fax: (315) 422-6514 Director: Gordon Darrow Areas of particular interest or expertise: Workers’ compensation.
Combustible . (See Dermatitis. dust or physical agent that is allowed at any time under federal standards. Contact Dermatitis . May result from exposure to toxic or abrasive substances. dust or other substance in a given amount of air. Chronic Effect . Example: 50 micrograms of lead in one cubic meter of air (50 ug/m3) is a concentration. A-5 . “Magic Solve” and “Red ECBS” are trade names.A substance that can wear or eat away another substance. such as strong acids. toxic substance — anything that makes air or water dirty or unfit for human consumption.Body system made up of the brain and spinal cord. Damage to chromosomes can cause harmful changes to an individual’s body and may also result in birth defects.Appendix: Glossary Glossary of Health and Safety Terms Acute Effect .Part of the cell’s genetic material. The generic name is frequently referred to as the exact description. dry or cracking skin.Any material. can cause burns and irritation when in contact with human skin. Chronic effects or diseases may not show up for years after exposure. or structure that can burn.3-dimethoxy benzidine” are chemical names.) Concentration . Chemical Name . blisters. Contaminant .The amount of a chemical.Inflammation of the skin.A harmful effect upon the human body following a short exposure to a dangerous substance or material.Substances or agents that can cause cancer when people are exposed to them. (See also Flammable.Dermatitis of the skin due to direct contact with irritating substance. Chromosome . “Benzene” and “3. Carcinogens . An acute reaction or illness occurs immediately after exposure or over a short term (usually less than 24 hours). chemical. swelling.An adverse effect upon the human body which develops from a long-term or frequent exposure to a harmful substance such as a carcinogen. rash. Ceiling Limit . Caustic . but it actually refers to categories such as metals or solvents.The correct name that fully defines the chemical composition of a substance.A corrosive chemical with a high pH (basic or alkaline).) Corrosive . or pain. Dermatitis . such as redness. Corrosive chemicals.The maximum concentration of a chemical. A combustible liquid is defined as having a flash point above 100o F. Central Nervous System (CNS) .Poison. alkalis and caustics.
ingestion. dust.Small solid particles that become airborne when a solid material is heated or burned. Engineering Controls . Upper Explosive (Flammable) Limit The highest concentration of a combustible or flammable gas or vapor in air that will produce a flash of fire. Mixtures below this concentration are too “lean” to burn. Exposure is measured over time and in amounts (dose). injury.Any type of job-related noise. disease or death to workers. A-6 .Lessens airborne contamination by diluting workplace air by ceiling or window fans. toxic chemical.Can easily be set on fire with a spark or flame. General Ventilation . such as grinding. he or she is exposed to that substance. Flammable . Gas . hydrogen sulfide.The correct name for a whole group or class of substances which have similar characteristics. Generic Name . canopies or ducts.The concentrations of gas in air which can explode.Appendix: Glossary Glossary Dust .When a worker takes in a toxic substance by inhalation. Mixtures above this concentration are too “rich” to burn.Removes air contaminants from workplace air by sucking them away from the breathing zones of workers by means of hoods. Fume . Exhaust ventilation is the most efficient means of controlling air contaminants because it moves smaller air volumes with less heat loss (in winter) than general exhaust ventilation. Hazard Abatement . rather than by requiring workers to wear protective equipment. Exhaust Ventilation .The process of controlling and eliminating hazards. skin absorption or other means. Examples: Carbon monoxide. substance or dangerous working condition which could cause an accident. (See Combustible. It is commonly measured by an explosimeter which reads out the concentration of a possible dangerous gas in percent per volume of air. rather than solid or liquid.Prevention of worker exposure to contaminants by work process changes or ventilation. It is usually expressed as a range between a “lower explosive level” (LEL) and an “upper explosive level” (UEL). Example: Welding on lead solder creates lead fumes.Airborne solid particles that are created by work processes. gas.) Lower Explosive (Flammable) Limit The lowest concentration of a combustible or flammable gas or vapor in air that will produce a flash of fire.A chemical that is normally airborne at room temperature. OSHA regulations require that exposure to airborne contaminants be reduced wherever possible by engineering controls rather than by the use of respirators. Exposure . Explosive Level . Health Hazard . Inflammable means the same thing.
Means the same thing as flammable: a material that can burn easily.Airborne liquid droplets that are created by a gas going into the liquid state or by a liquid being splashed.Devices worn by workers to protect them against work-related hazards such as air contaminants. as well as methods for determining the identity and concentration of chemical. A unit for measuring the amount of a chemical or substance in the air. ear plugs.A condition of the body or portion of the body characterized by swelling. such as dermatitis caused by skin contact with solvents. physical and radiation hazards.Means that the action of the chemical takes place at the point of contact. (Compare with systemic effect.The process of breathing something into the lungs. PEL . (See below.Milligrams per cubic meter of air. Mist . respirators and steel-toe work shoes. PELs may not always be completely protective. While it is important to wear such equipment when required. Inflammation . that a worker can get without experiencing any harmful health effects. Inflammable .) Mg/M3 . redness. Local Effect . A-7 . 40-hour week. foaming or atomized. the numerical level of a chemical or substance above which a worker cannot legally be exposed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Mutagen . Personal Protective Equipment . soft lining of the nose.The moist.The process of taking a substance through the mouth. Examples: oil mist from cutting.A chemical or other substance capable of causing a mutation. Inhalation . evaluation and elimination of workplace hazards.) Mutation .Appendix: Glossary Glossary Industrial Hygiene . Ingestion . paint mists from spraying. the mutation can be passed on to future generations. The limit reflects an average exposure over an 8-hour work day.A change (usually harmful) in the genetic material of a cell. When it occurs in the sperm or egg. grinding or from pressure. Mucous Membrane . Industrial hygienists study ventilation techniques and other engineering controls.Permissible exposure limit. pain and heat. mouth and eyes. Unfortunately. it should be remembered that these devices usually only provide minimal protection to workers and should only have to be worn when all other efforts have been initiated to correct an unsafe working environment. Examples of personal protective equipment include hard hats.The technical specialty concerned with the recognition. Example: the PEL for lead exposure is 50 ug/m3 for a 40-hour week. falling materials and noise.
100 micrograms equal one milligram. cold. placed close to the source of airborne fumes or dust and drawing it away from the worker.) Ug/m3 . heat.Micrograms per cubic meter of air. capable of causing any sort of injury to the body.A chemical’s effect on the body that takes place somewhere other than point of contact. For example. ACGIH’s TLVs are not legally enforceable. Time-Weighted Average (TWA) A method used to calculate the average concentration of a chemical over an 8-hour day. Trade Name . Vapor . Ventilation . Toxic .Appendix: Glossary Glossary PPM . “Formacil” or “Methotrexate” are trade names. (See Generic Names and Chemical Names. Solvent . but affect the nervous system (site of action).A duct and fan system that takes fumes or dust in the air out of the work area. This includes noise. Volatile .Two or more agents that act together to produce a total effect greater than the sum of the separate effects. along with chemical and mineral substances. thereby reducing a worker’s exposure. Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL) The maximum average concentration of a chemical allowed for a continuous 15-minute period. Usually only four short exposures a day are permitted.A substance that causes an individual to react when subsequently exposed to the same or other irritant.Substances or agents that cause birth defects or other abnormalities in offspring.Tendency for a liquid to evaporate or vaporize rapidly. Sensitizer . the ratio of the amount of a substance to the amount of air or water. A volatile liquid has a high vapor pressure and may be readily inhaled. as in a skin reaction or allergy.Any arbitrary name a company chooses to use for a chemical or product for advertising reasons or in order to keep secret the ingredients. some pesticides are absorbed through the skin (point of contact). which sometimes differ from OSHA’s PELs.A substance (liquid) capable of dissolving another. radiation. Only some chemicals have STELs. One part benzene vapor per million parts of air is 1 ppm. A-8 .Abbreviation for parts per million. Teratogen .The gas formed above a liquid as it evaporates. The most effective type of ventilation is local exhaust ventilation. Threshold Limit Value (TLV) Exposure limits for chemicals recom mended by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).Poisonous. each at least 50 minutes apart. 40-hour week. Systemic Effect . Synergistic .